If we take a quick look at the premium utility segment, we see that there are few units on the table. Audi and MINI take almost all the cat to the water, and that is something that the Stellantis Group wants to undo. The French conglomerate hopes to be able to stand up in the electricity segment with a model of DS that directly confronts the MINI Cooper SE. That means reviving a model that once disappeared due to the rise of crossovers.
In the middle of last year DS announced that its goal is to become a 100% electric brand by 2027. With a growing electrified fleet, DS aspires to fight in each of the most important segments of the market. The DS 7 E-Tense opts for plug-in hybrid systems, while the DS 3 Crossback bases its entire mobility strategy on 100% electric systems. The idea is to launch a non-SUV version that can rival the English model, at least in positioning, a new electric DS 3.
We all know that MINI has its own atmosphere around it. The English, supported by the strong structure of the BMW Group, have been able to recover the lost essence. After its relaunch at the beginning of the century, MINI has carved out its own niche within the premium utility segment. The Audi A1 has been the only one that, minimally, has been able to stand up, although soon it will say goodbye to us without a clear successor. But where Audi has ceased, DS hopes to conquer.
In the electricity market, the models belonging to segments B and C are gaining more followers every day. Attracted by competitive prices and increasingly extensive autonomies, they are a definitive ally for urban mobilityhowever the approach premium can bring unpleasant consequences. In the smaller segments of the market, every euro counts, and we all know that electrification leads to increased costs, which can be a serious setback when it comes to penetrating drivers.
The case of MINI is an exceptional case, and hence the particularity that it has always offered. In any case, DS has not made a firm decision. As argued by Béatrice Foucher, CEO of DSto Autocar magazine, A return to the roots of the original DS 3 is not ruled out, that is, a utility vehicle instead of an SUV. “We are working on the renovation of the DS 3, and when we say renovation it does not mean that we are going to renew the car as it is today.”
Obviously DS has to evaluate the strategy very well. Enter an electric utility premium it can be a double-edged sword. The MINI Cooper SE reaps good sales figures, but nobody stands up to it. A different approach is what we see in the general sector, where there is more presence such as the Peugeot e-208, the Honda e or the Opel Corsa-e. It will still take a while for us to know the decision of DS in this regard, although if it reaches the market it would do so at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.