Citroen's DS range has certainly caught the imagination of the motoring public in recent years. The DS3 certainly is cute and has plenty of charisma, along with the DS4 and DS5 which boast daring and interesting lines and angles. Following the interest and success, the line continues with the DS 6WR, a compact crossover unveiled at the Beijing Motorshow.
The stylish angles and design language certainly appears more desirable than the current Mitsubishi ASX-based Citroen C4 Aircross and Peugeot 4008 siblings, which have proven ineffective in terms of European sales. Therefore the Citroen DS 6WR, equipped with one of the PSA family's infamous diesel units has the recipe for a potential sales success. Alas unfortunately not, as with the Ford Escort revealed last week on Speedmonkey.co.uk, PSA have decided to offer the DS 6WR exclusively to the Chinese market.
Apparently PSA are striving to increase sales of Peugeots and Citroens in the affluent Chinese market, where they currently sell 13 per cent of their worldwide output. In fact, this figure is currently on course to become 50 per cent by 2016 and 60 per cent by 2020. Whereas it may seem that the French brands are conspiring to leave us Europeans in the dark, a deteriorating reputation for poor build quality, dwindling sales and dangerously walking the tightrope of bankruptcy has called for drastic measures. With China's demand for foreign brands rising, manufacturers are beginning to change their priorities. The DS 6WR, available in China with only the e-THP 160 and 200 Prince engines mounted on a six-speed automatic transmission, is not the first PSA product not available throughout the entire European market. Below we explore some special market vehicles which were never available in Britain.
5 - Citroen DS 5LS
Coming soon to the Chinese market, along with the aforementioned DS 6WR, the DS 5LS is a C-segment saloon with a surprising amount of flare. As Citroen aims to push the DS name as a fully-fledged brand in the Chinese market, logically more models will arrive in Shanghai instead of Salisbury. More interesting though is the hardcore DS 5LS R concept, which promises to be the most powerful Citroen yet. If priced correctly, Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3 Saloon buyers may find themselves surprised at the lights.
4 - Citroen Axel
Your eyes do not deceive you, this image is not of a regular Citroen Visa. The Axel was a special vehicle produced exclusively for the Romanian market between 1984 and 1990. Also known as the Oltcit Club, the Axel was a three-door vehicle produced on an assembly line in Craiova. Unfortunately, quality was atrocious by comparison to contemporary Citroen products and only amounted to just over 60,000 sales.
3 - Citroen C-Elysée/Peugeot 301
Regular readers will have recently learned of the sister C-segment saloon's existence. Unsurprisingly, they shall make an appearance once again. Selections of the European market can opt for either/or, or occasionally both, however the main focus is on the developing markets worldwide. For instance, the C-Elysée's previous generation was based on the ancient Citroen ZX in China as late as last year. Following the discontinuation, the Citroen version is also assembled within China, along with Vigo in Spain.
2 - Peugeot 4008/Citroen C4 Aircross
Readers who were scratching their heads during the second paragraph of this article will now be satisfied and safe in the knowledge that the mystery vehicles referred to remain enigmatic in the UK market. Based upon the familiar Mitsubishi ASX crossover, the 4008 and C4 Aircross have proven disappointing in terms of sales figures throughout Europe, including in the French market. Naturally, PSA were targeting the developing markets with this model, with Russia and Ukraine receiving the earliest launch date worldwide.
1 - Peugeot 206+
Yes, Britain certainly received the Peugeot 206 with a whirlwind in terms of sales throughout its life time. However, the legend died in 2006 and thus was the end of the chapter. Not entirely, as Citroen produced a face-lifted model called the 206+ in Europe, or 207 Compact in Argentina. With the front end from the replacing 207, and a low retail price, the 206+ was aimed to compete with a similar project by Renault with the Clio based Dacia Logan. Sales weren't terrible either, with production lasting until late 2012 in Europe. Production ended at the Mulhouse plant in Paris following strong demand for the 208 and the launch of the 207-based Peugeot 301.
By Mike Armstrong