Citroen's big plans for DS brand

* More exclusive options * and limited-edition versions * Revamped ultra-hot DS3 Racing, too...

Citroen's big plans for DS brand

Citroen is planning to use exclusive options and limited-edition versions to keep its DS sub-brand fresh along with the prospect of a revamped version of the ultra-hot DS3 Racing

The car maker's line-up of premium models will be completed early next year when deliveries of the DS5 'coupe estate' begin in March (UK order books open in late December).

However, Thomas dHaussy, Citroens director of product planning, says that further variants are likely as the company tries to extend the brands reach and niche appeal.

He told us: 'We will be offering exclusive options and probably exclusive models. We have already done this a little with the DS3, including versions with matt finish paint. The policy will be extended to the DS4 and Citroen DS5 review, but perhaps in different ways.'

This is likely to be in the form of time-limited offers of exclusive cabin materials and paint finishes.

Thomas dHaussy also revealed that the DS3 Racing has exceeded all expectations.

'We originally thought we would build a little more than 1000 DS3 Racings,' he said, 'but in the end we will produce around 2400. I think another version of the car is very likely, before too long.'

UK dealers are said to have fewer than 20 cars remaining from the 200 they were allocated, despite its 23k pricetag.

DHaussy also refused to rule out installing the DS5s 200bhp Hybrid4 powertrain into the smaller DS4, potentially creating a performance-oriented diesel-electric hybrid.

When told it was hard to imagine a hot DS4, he said: 'Yes, but we have a lot of imagination.'

Further DS models are expected, because the car maker is unlikely to keep the DS5 as the largest model for its rapidly expanding market in China. It is said to be considering both a stretched version of the DS5 and an even bigger saloon, closer in looks to the giant Metropolis concept car shown at last years Shanghai motor show.

China is already a crucial market for Citroen; in August the companys sales there surpassed those in France for the first time, and dHaussy said he expects it to be Citroens largest market overall 'within three to four years'.