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Peugeot's DS brand adds mini-SUV to bolster rebounding sales

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Peugeot's DS brand adds mini-SUV to bolster rebounding sales
The new DS 3 Crossback SUV is seen during a presentation at PSA's DS Brand Automotive Design Network centre in Velizy, near Paris, France, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann   -   Copyright  CHRISTIAN HARTMANN(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – French carmaker PSA Group <PEUP.PA> unveiled an SUV version of its DS3 upscale mini as it builds on a sales rebound underway at the eight-year-old premium DS brand.

The DS3 Crossback brings a long-overdue update to the top-selling DS model, with which the Peugeot maker launched the lineup in 2010, initially under the Citroen badge.

By adapting its flagship mini to the hot-selling SUV category, the DS division led by former McKinsey consultant Yves Bonnefont hopes to accelerate a sales recovery now taking root in the wake of a protracted slump.

Named after the hallowed 1955 Citroen limousine, the DS lineup had suffered from under-investment during a 2013-14 cash crisis that almost bankrupted PSA.

After a further 39 percent decline last year, however, DS sales rose 14 percent in the first half of 2018 – helped by the recently launched DS7 Crossback SUV model in which French President Emmanuel Macron rode to his inauguration.

Besides its higher-riding position, the DS3 Crossback brings a digital cockpit, retracting door handles and other luxury-car hallmarks to the entry-level DS segment.

Pricing is yet to be disclosed for the new vehicle, which makes its public debut at next month’s Paris car show, with first deliveries due in early 2019.

(Reporting by Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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