Manufacturer turned mobility provider
04 March 2019
Author: Rachel Boagey
Rachel Boagey visits DS at the showroom launch of the DS 3 Crossback to learn about its future ventures, including plans to provide mobility services.
The DS 3 Crossback has just hit showrooms in the UK and the DS brand is hoping it will prove to be a success, but as a luxury manufacturer it is not just volume the brand is focused on, UK MD Alain Descat told us at its brand new showroom in Manchester.
As of 1 July 2017, when the brand officially separated from Citroën to become a standalone marque under PSA, DS has adopted a start-up approach, with its own goals and plans for the future.
"We have been busy working on new products such as the DS 7 Crossback and our new DS 3 Crossback," said Descat. "We have a new dealer network and a new customer experience - the three pillars of the brand."
Although supported by the group, Descat told us that the brand is almost like a
start-up, aiming to embody "French avant garde luxury", and has a different plan for the future of its sales and aftersales.
"One of my personal first focuses is to ensure the aftersales service for all of our customers is the same as the purchase of the car in the first place," he said. "Retail and user-chooser customers are able to come into store and experience the staff's expertise and customer service. When they purchase the car, we will keep that customer service up and do things like always valet the car after a service, for example."
The reason for this, explained Descat, is that DS needs to keep ahead of the trends of its potential customers.
"We need to continue to raise the bar with our customer service and experience as it is no longer just a car but the entire experience," he said.
The brand's Only You service is the umbrella name for the customer service it is looking to provide.
"If you are a DS customer, you will have access to special events and become part of the DS community, whether you are fleet or retail," said Descat.
The company is also launching car rental services from its dealerships, which have just grown to a total of 35 across the UK, soon to be eight stores dedicated to DS called 'DS Stores'.
"You will be able to rent a car from us too because we are aware the trend is moving away from car-buying in a way and towards mobility in general," Descat said.
"If you are a dealer then your business model is based on selling cars, but that is not what our brand value is. It is not about volume for us, and we are moving to these different services, such as rental, as a way to secure the future of our customers."
One of the main reasons, explained Descat, is that the brand will be making less revenue from cars once they begin to move towards electrification.
"There will be fewer parts in the car in a way, so we are going to become more of a mobility provider than a product provider, and offer seamless and connected services as a part of that," he said. "Whether you own a car or rent it, customers still want quality service and products, and we will just do that in a different way in the future. We need to offer these solutions as the world is changing and it is changing fast."
As part of working towards achieving its sustainability and environmental goals, the brand also recently announced that from 2025 all future DS models will have electrified versions, beginning with the recently launched DS 7 Crossback.
"There will be one car a year and every DS from now on comes as an electrified vehicle," said Descat.
The DS 3 Crossback will offer a fully electrified version by the end of 2019, reaching around 200 miles in range. The DS 7 Crossback will also come with a plug-in hybrid version.
"There will no longer be any pure diesel or petrol engines from 2025," Descat said. "Electric is the next luxury and gives people delight and a great driving experience, which matches our goals and beliefs as a brand."