The DS brand will expand its model range from three to six models before 2020.

The expansion of the new premium brand will follow its complete separation from Citroen by early 2016. This is the point at which the supermini DS3 model gets a model-year change, three months behind the DS4’s rebrand, which sees Citroen’s logo and branding removed completely as it seeks to establish DS as its premium offering.

The upper medium DS5 is first to show the new grille, dominated by the DS logo. The facelifted car arrives in the UK in July (see page 27 for the first test report).

DS has not confirmed what the extra three models will be, but said they would all be in “the fastest-growing segments”, and added that a crossover is likely. There are also plans for a plug-in hybrid, but Yves Bonnefont, DS global chief executive, would not reveal on which model or when it would arrive.

Bekir Hassan, DS and Citroen UK brand director, said: “DS will be our premium brand. We feel we have cars in the future that can certainly perform in that sector as the premier brand of PSA.”

DS will take a leadership position on technology, displaying advances in autonomous tech before it filters down to Citroen and Peugeot.

Hassan confirmed the UK as the biggest market for the DS3 in Europe, with one-in-three European DS3 registrations being right-hand drive models, a figure that rises to 45% for the cabrio version. The changes for the DS4 and then DS3 inside the next nine months will be cosmetic and not as pronounced as the DS5 facelift, with the new grille and DS logo replacing the Citroen one, ahead of all-new models arriving in 2017 and ’18.

Bonnefont wants to establish DS as a credible rival to German premium brands and admits it may take up to two model cycles or 15 years for this to happen. He also wants residual values to improve to be on par too.

He said: “We have to measure the strength of our brand by our RVs. Improving the RV on our products is a specific key performance indicator on our product programmes.”

The shift will also allow Citroen to become more individual, characterised, Hassan said, by the new Cactus crossover model, which “epitomises what Citroen stands for – it has a distinct identity”.

He added: “The 2CV also had a distinct identity and this is where we want to take the Citroen brand.”

Hassan said buyer habits are evolving, with customers wanting an economical and practical car more so than ever, but a car that’s “an experience, an extension of them”, with more personalisation, added value, innovation, practicality and connectivity.