DS Preparing for Iran Splash

DS Preparing for Iran Splash
DS Preparing for Iran Splash

The French automotive group Peugeot-Citroen has said it will be importing no more than 1,000 units of its upscale DS brand in Iran in 2016.

Speaking to Iranian journalists in France, Arnaud Ribault, the brand’s sales and marketing chief, said the company will be bringing its models to Iran, local automotive news website Carnet wrote.

Citroen announced in early 2009 the development of the premium sub-brand DS, for Different Spirit or Distinctive Series, to run in parallel to its mainstream cars. The slogan of the DS car marque is “Spirit of avant-garde”.

“The DS brand is currently manufacturing in France and China. Exports to Iran will be done from the production lines of these two countries,” Ribault said.

The marketing chief said a sales center will soon start operating in Iran with four models: DS 4, DS 4 Crossback, DS 5 SL and DS 6.  

When asked about possible plans for setting up production plants inside the country, Ribault clarified that “to start with, we only plan to export and do not have any plans to set up a production line in Iran for the time being.”

He added that the brand will be operating in Iran in collaboration with the Iranian corporation Arian Motor.

“We are currently setting up the infrastructures to start selling in Iran and there are no concerns in this area,” Ribault said.

Arian Motor was previously the sole distributor of the cars made by Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in Iran.

In alliance with Arian Motor, DS will export, distribute and offer after-sales services for DS models.

“DS models account for approximately 29% of the luxury cars in France,” Ribault said, while adding that 25% of their products are sold in China.

Dariush Biria, Arian Motor’s CEO, also noted in a statement that his company has signed an agreement with DS and a showroom will be opened in Iran by January.

“The DS brand stands for design, technology, refinement and French elegance,” he said.

Biria noted that the prices of the models entering Iran will be announced once they are ready to be sold.  

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is launching its upscale DS Automobiles brand in Iran to win sales from well-off Iranians who like French luxury goods, which it has noted as a small but profitable section of the car buying public.

European automakers, including PSA, Renault and Volkswagen, are all eying the Iranian market following the country’s deal with the West to end sanctions.

Paris-based PSA hopes to gain an advantage by capitalizing on Iranians’ association of luxury and elegance with France.

“French luxury values find a very strong resonance in Iran and the Iranian market holds great promise for the DS brand,” Ribault had earlier said in a statement in October.

“Aside from the four models mentioned, other models will also be marketed.”

Industry watchers expect the Iranian auto market to expand, as new investment pours into the country following the end of trade sanctions. The country is Middle East’s largest car market.

IHS Automotive forecasts that new-car sales will reach 1.2 million this year from 1.1 million last year and bounce back to 1.6 million in 2016, which figure collapsed under the weight of sanctions.

PSA and Renault are seeking to resume local manufacturing in Iran. PSA’s Iran sales peaked at 458,000 vehicles, nearly 30% of the market, before it halted deliveries four years ago under pressure from its ex-partner General Motors.

DS will open its first store in the Iranian capital Tehran. It launched a Persian website named earlier this month.

PSA revived the DS badge for a range of near-premium models five years ago. DS became a standalone brand in April last year.

PSA and rival Renault also use the popularity of France’s luxury fashion brands to help win sales in China.