French Brand Hertiage in Stellantis Needs a Serious Makeover

Last week it was announced by Stellantis that the association responsible for the heritage of Citroën, Peugeot and DS Automobiles, “L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS”, had decided in its management meeting on April 27, 2021 to approve the rebranding of its major three labels:

  • Citroën Heritage now becomes L’AVENTURE CITROËN.
  • DS Heritage now becomes L’AVENTURE DS AUTOMOBILES.
  • L’Aventure Peugeot remains L’AVENTURE PEUGEOT but changes its logo, in line with the new graphic charter recently presented by Peugeot.

Their missions remain the same, only the names and logos change. Also the underlying association will keep it’s name and is still called L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS.

But what does this all mean going forward? Well first, let’s look back at the past…

There has long been debate among Citroën enthusiasts that DS Automobiles, created as an upscale brand of Citroën innovation and style, and touting their heritage by citing the original DS and SM (and now it appears the CX), has resulted in these models models being downplayed, and in some instances eliminated, in conveying the Citroën brand.

In an attempt to distinguish these 2 brands with effectively singular Citroën roots, it was decided to create 2 historical paths that would be marketed and perceived by the public. As a result Citroën Heritage and DS Heritage was conceived. The whole process has been about as effective and trying to separate colours after they have been mixed into one paint.

Even more confusing was who was in control of the Le Conservatoire Citroën, the museum near Charles De Gaulle airport in Aulnay-Sous-Bois on the outskirts of Paris, laden with documents and a collection of production models, concepts and racing cars produced throughout Citroën’s history.

At first DS Automobiles shunned mention of Le Conservatoire Citroën, but as time marched on, it’s name was changed to Conservatoire Citroën – DS. (At least that’s what it is called on the L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS webpage today. https://laventurepeugeotCitroënds.fr/en/evenements/).

Let’s not forget that both Citroën and DS Automobiles are merely part of a much bigger PSA organization, and Peugeot for almost a century had preserved their archives and marketed their history at their museum in Sochaux, France. (Now called L’Aventure Peugeot.)

To make matters more confusing, in December 2019, L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS posted a YouTube video showing their archives and the service they were providing in identifying and offering authentication certificates for various Citroën models based in L’Aventure Peugeot in Sochaux. The records and archive files for Citroën were moved to L’Aventure Peugeot.

Fast forward to to today…

What impact does this switcheroo naming of “HERITAGE” to “L’AVENTURE” really have? And more importantly — what heritage does DS Automobiles have other than Citroën? The answer is zilch!

While the decision to keep DS Automobiles distinct from Citroën as far as retrospective branding is concerned, this roll it all under “L’AVENTURE” branding from Peugeot is an ill-conceived cultural make work project that rambles on from PSA days.

Wading through the Executive management team of Stellantis these days, it would appear that the recent rebranding decision would have been made by, or at least cleared through, these 4 people:

Thierry Koskas
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer
Richard Schwarzwald
Chief Customer Experience Officer
Jean-Christophe Quemard
Deputy Chief Customer Experience Officer
Bertrand Blaise
Chief Communication & CSR Officer

At this juncture, Stellantis could be more effective and arguably efficient by taking a steps to distinguish Peugeot and Citroën as far as their true heritage is concerned, and operate these two as autonomies in Stellantis as the company is doing preserving the heritage of Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Opel and Chrysler.

And for God’s sake, if they are going to keep pushing DS Automobiles on the market, come clean at last and acknowledge that it’s heritage is based on everything Citroën achieved in the 20th century!

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