The new dealer appointments and the increased model selection are expected to support DS Automobiles’ 2022 drive to sell double the number of new vehicles as it did in 2021.
Amid a year without COVID lockdowns and supply issues across the industry, it appears that the DS brand is poised to draw new customers and will continue to move toward total electrification, according to UK managing director Jules Tilstone.
DS has also begun creating a new contract model for an agency for its retailers. It would like to have it in place by June 2023.
Tilstone offered no insight into what this would mean for the dealer network’s obligations and rewards and added that there’s plenty to be figured out.
Nine European working groups, which include network members, examine critical aspects of the business, such as finance or marketing, through digital channels to determine the best way to approach this issue. Be created employing the agency contract.
There are a lot of questions to be answered for every region this year before proposals are presented to European Dealer Councils. After that, European Dealer Councils, and then the agreements are signed.
“The most important thing is this shared purpose. We are striving to create a system that provides the most satisfying customer experience we can offer. If we don’t create an effective and mutually beneficial business plan, then we won’t be able to attract the best talent in retail and be unable to meet our goals,” he says.
Updates on progress will be made available to franchisees each quarter, and Tilstone regularly holds meetings with each dealer to hear their concerns. Most of them are open and optimistic but also cautious due to the number of details yet to be established.
He believes that, in the end, it will remove some costs for the manufacturer, which will make hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) less expensive and will make it easier to manage communications about new cars, offers, and buying for the consumer who will know they’ve been charged the same regardless of where they’re located in the United States.
The year 2021 was the most difficult for DS. DS changed from the most desirable (6.3 from 10) among all Stellantis brands to compare the franchise’s worth in this summer’s NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey to be the least (4.1).
But Tilstone says morale is good due to the rising demand for high-end cars.
“I believe that’s an excellent indicator of whether we’re drawing the right customers to DS today who can purchase our products and are willing to set the highest trim levels, which is essential to the long-term success of our business in the premium segment,” the CEO says.
Franchisees are excited about the subsequent releases, increasing DS to a four-car lineup.
The DS4 hatchback, a competitor of the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, will hit the UK market in March and is expected to account for a large portion of the increase in sales.
More than 300 pre-orders had taken place at the close of February. The DS9 was launched in the showroom in February and will be able to take the title from Jaguar XF and Lexus ES in the premium mid-size segment.
Tilstone is also delighted to learn that DS will, in the year 2022, provide buyers with plug-in hybrids (DS4 and DS7), as well as DS9) Pure electrical (DS3 Crossback) and petrol engines. Of course, there’s Diesel available (DS4 and DS7), however, in small quantities.
PLANS for ONLY ELECTRIC POWER
From 2024 onwards, DS will build cars with fully electric powertrains. From 2025, it will not offer brand-new internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles.
Tilstone predicts that 51% of all new DS vehicles sold by 2022 will be low-emission automobiles (producing less than 100g/km of CO2), up from 42 percent in 2021. However, he also says the amount of sales “is not essential for our customers,” provided the level is sufficient for dealers to profit from their investment.
It is crucial that sales increase and that they do it profitably.
The DS network has a break-even average in 2021 (versus losing money in the year 2019) and the highest 75% earning a 1% profit on sales, and the highest quarter of the market getting 4.5 percent.
In 2022, by the time the year is over By the time 2022 is over, the DS network was expected to have 35 dealerships and 45 by 2023. This will be an increase from the 26 dealerships in 2021. The network slowed down after the unprofitable DS Salons were closed. The focus now is to focus on DS Stores – full showrooms instead of the salons that are boutique in style – with seven new museums scheduled to open by the end of summer.
A large part of the DS network is located in a shared location or rooftop with a different brand of Stellantis, taking an earlier FCA Group under Stellantis’ umbrella and has opened the doors to individual franchisees from Fiat/Jeep/Alfa.
The DS Stores, alongside digital marketing and other events, are essential in making prospective purchasers aware of DS automobiles, according to Tilstone.
The carmaker’s research indicates that 79 percent of customers who buy premium cars have now recognized the DS brand when participating in ‘assisted recognition exercises. These are where DS is included in an array of high-end rivals.
It’s a far cry from its humble beginnings as more expensive models of Citroens. “Our main challenge is ensuring customers know us through our stores and most recent products. But, of course, DS hasn’t just arrived; we must alter our perspective. I believe that’s evident in the way our customers are drawn to this brand.”
One in two DS buyers has owned an automobile of a high-end brand. Tilstone explained that the customers of DS models come comprised of three categories: those who own German brand cars seeking something new, as well as those who are part of the exclusive premium brands like Lexus or Land Rover, who’re putting DS into their set of competitors when they’re considering their next vehicle as well as those with Stellantis cars for example, the Peugeot, Vauxhall or an earlier DS and are in a position to purchase a luxury vehicle.
“We have the right people that are coming into and learning about DS with the appropriate budget and a focus on the right number of vehicles to allow us to achieve the expansion we are planning.”
Tools of Conquer
In light of the lengthy lead times cited by German manufacturers when it comes to new cars, DS has the chance to snag sales and deliver vehicles in just 3 or 4 months, he claimed.
DS isn’t able to afford the massive advertising budgets of Audi as well as BMW to draw UK customers, so it has to get its cars on the radar of potential buyers and is looking for positive reviews from customers who are already customers.
DS drivers can join the “Only You Privilege” club. It gives drivers and their companions access to exclusive events and experiences and discounts on partner brands.
The DS Valet service collects and returns the vehicle at the scheduled time and provides nationwide aftersales service for a small amount.