Citroën Backtracks on Disavowing the Existence of the DS and SM – Sort Of

We wrote last month about how Groupe PSA eradicated the DS and SM from Citroën’s history and took on a marketing spin to associate the DS and SM with their new “DS Brand”.   This has resulted in furor from Citroën purists over the company not featuring the DS and the SM in their Virtual Musem about the history of Citroën’s various models.  Amid this outcry, we noticed this week that Groupe PSA have since made some progress in coming to their senses;  The two models have now been added, but in a very odd way…


The icons are there, but they are just a black & white outline drawing rather than full colour that is depicted for all the other models.  And clicking on them brings up a a cryptic message saying the DS [or SM] “has always been the avant-garde member of our family.  She’s now taken a different path, taking all her history with her.   You’ll most likely cross paths again…”

citroenorigins-ds  citroenorigins-ds-caption  Mobile browser views of the Citroën Virtual History Museum.

Not wanting back down from embracing the DS and SM as part of Citroën, PSA’s response to the difficult positioning problem they have created has been to make both models so obscure, that they are treated like the Roman Catholic church would a Saint; elevate them to a new stature that you have to be in ‘DS heaven’ to be-at-one with.   A bait and switch that only French marketing would try to pull off.  Rather than this lame response they should have put a link on each one to a website such as Julian Marsh’s excellent Citroënet that has accurate historical info on all Citroën models.

In fact there are numerous historical errors in Citroën’s Virtual Museum.   Citroënvie Member Grant Slinn wrote us from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia to say:

“Bad enough that they they left out the DS but – they feature the car I own with a lot of errors as well.  However, in the cartoon that is part of the 5HP write up – or should I say presentation, a 5HP is shown in front of a showroom with a DS inside!


Many of the details of the 5hp are wrong – trim details , plating areas and the interior shot is of an over restored car with many things wrong.

Their ad agency must have got hung up on the Trefle model and found a photo of a car like mine – which is not a Trefle, its a Cabriolet. Colour is really wrong – for 1922/23, they came in  blue and  beige, certainly not red. Maroon ones came along later – but never red.  So I know my car is the wrong colour but I haven’t decided if I care enough to spend many $ changing the colour.

And by the way in the copy, they really got tangled up with HP and CV.  CV wasn’t invented in 1922 so the car is a 5 HP for taxation purposes, and the engine develops 12 HP.  The copy claims 12 CV!

Anyway  – good fun.  I sound like a fussy old codger but having spent my working life in Science Centres where we spent vast amounts of time getting the written copy right – even if we knew that only about 15% of the visitors ever read it – it still pains me when obvious errors are created. “

Citroën should be embracing the DS and SM as part of it’s rich history rather than putting up obscure lame messages and being historically inaccurate.   In fact, ‘lame’ ain’t the word for it.   Julian Marsh points out that something we all missed at last year’s Mondial was this scale model – sans chevrons.  However this is a scale model from the fifties which was fitted with the new front and it is not clear whether it ever had chevrons…


Will a miracle happen and Groupe PSA make a concerted effort get Citroën’s history correct?  Sad to say it’s pretty doubtful.  They are a new breed of avant-garde marketing types that have little regard for, or the desire to understand, their incredible history.   So far their reinstatement of the  DS and SM on the Citroën Virtual History Museum website is akin to the Pope performing a miracle to cure a blind man, but the end result is that he is now deaf!


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