It’s official: the Citroën DS is no longer a Citroën. We’ve kind of got used to the idea of the newly-formed DS Automobiles using the iconic ‘Goddess’ to inject some much needed heritage into its fledging brand, but we weren’t prepared for this blatant denial of history.
On the face of it, the new Citroën Origins website is rather good: you could easily lose an entire lunchtime wandering through the backstreets of Citroën’s history, a Gitanes smouldering away in your right hand. In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link. Put aside an hour or two.
Notice anything missing from the gallery? Yep, that’s right – the DS has been removed from Citroën’s back catalogue. An oversight, surely? After all, the DS is one of Citroën’s finest creations – a car that happened to finish third in the Car of the Century poll.
Citroën did pretty well in the award, with the Traction Avant and 2CV (rightly) joining the DS in the original shortlist. But while the Traction Avant and 2CV remain part of Citroën’s history, the DS has been given the boot. When asked to explain the decision, Citroën’s response was blunt and rather cold:
— Citroën (@Citroen) July 25, 2016
OK, we understand the business case behind the conscious uncoupling of Citroën and DS, but we weren’t aware that Citroën was going to lose custody of some of its children. Look closely and you’ll notice the SM is also missing from Citroën’s Origins. The emphasis here is on the word ‘origin’ – this is Citroën’s family tree. It’s not up to a marketeer or web designer to remove two of Citroën’s icons from its back catalogue.
By all means use the DS and SM to provide a springboard for DS Automobiles — as demonstrated here — but not at the expense of one of the world’s most famous carmakers. André Citroën would almost certainly be turning in his grave. Let’s also remember the DS was joined by the ID – a more accessible and less technologically-enriched version of the Goddess. Where does that sit in the fall out of the Citroën/DS divorce? In the 1994 book Citroën: The First 75 Years, the DS and SM sit alongside the likes of the AX, GS, Xantia and ZX as part of Citroën’s DNA. Will they be airbrushed from future celebrations of Citroën’s heritage? Time will tell.
This isn’t to dismiss the aims and objectives of Citroën or DS. On the contrary, watching the DS brand evolve over the coming years will make for compelling viewing, while the likes of the C4 Cactus and recently unveiled C3 supermini demonstrate that Citroën is in rude health following the break up. No, this is merely a request to do the right thing.
The DS and SM are products of Citroën – always have been, always will be. Don’t deny Citroën its history. Thank you.