Beatrice Foucher has been CEO of DS Automobiles since January 2020. Under her watch, the Stellantis premium brand has launched two key models, the DS 9 large sedan and the DS 4 compact hatchback. The DS 9 will be built in China and sold in both Asian markets and Europe, where as a halo model it will help DS grow its core market beyond France and southern European countries such as Spain and Italy. Foucher recently spoke about the DS 9 and the brand's new role as part of Stellantis' premium group with Automotive News Europe News Editor Peter Sigal.
What are your ambitions for the DS 9?
This is the flagship of the brand. It’s a large sedan, very comfortable, with lots of technology and a very powerful drivetrain. It shows what DS can deliver to the premium market.
What mix do you expect between business and private buyers?
I think it will be around 70 percent business, not really fleets but business customers.
Is ride-hailing, through premium services such as Uber Black, a potential market for the DS 9?
It's very possible. It's another point you weigh to make the brand and product known. I know that some could be reluctant about (seeing their cars used in ride-hailing) that but I think if it's done in the appropriate way, with premium service, it's fine.
The DS 9 will be assembled in China and exported to Europe. How will it help Stellantis and DS rebuild Chinese sales after years of decline and after dissolving your joint venture with Changan Automobile?
I can’t speak for Stellantis, but on our side we have to grow in China, obviously. We’re selling small volumes in China right now, but that isn’t really the problem. We have to say, OK, what is DS providing to the Chinese customer; what’s the story of DS. We’ll also have to rebuild our sales network to help relaunch the brand. For the time being we have the DS 7 (compact SUV), which is a well-known model, but the DS 9 will support the brand, too, as a large sedan with a long wheelbase and a very comfortable rear seat, which is appreciated in China. Even though the competition in China is very tough, we have to find a way to say what DS is providing that the others aren’t.