Autocar confidential: DS spurns volume, Picanto to live on and more

In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we hear why DS could be less fussed about volume, Volkswagen predicts the demise of small diesels and more.

DS won’t chase volume

DS Automobiles is “very profitable”, according to PSA Europe boss Maxime Picat. Pre-lockdown, the brand saw increases in both sales and profits, yet PSA won’t be chasing volume. Picat said the company is aware that it could take as many as 40 years to establish DS as a global premium brand. “We know it will take time to win hearts in the UK and Germany,” he said, adding: “If you say you’re going to sell 400,000 units a year, you put pressure on it.”

Picanto to weather city car storm

There’s still life yet for the Kia Picanto, despite the ongoing demise of the city car segment. Kia UK boss Paul Philpott said that while volume is likely to be reduced from 18,000 units in 2019 to 12,000 in 2020 in order for Kia to meet its EU-set CO2 emissions targets, there is a definite future for the Picanto in the UK.

Small diesels are goners, says VW

Ever-toughening emissions standards will make diesel unviable for smaller cars, according to Volkswagen technical boss Matthias Rabe. He believes the investment required to meet the planned Euro 7 standards will make diesel engines too expensive for the Polo and Golf in future, although “it will make sense for SUVs with higher weight and more drag”.

PHEVs ‘most important’ for Cupra

Cupra chief Wayne Griffiths believes plug-in hybrids, as available in the new Leon hatchback and estate and Formentor SUV, will be “the most important derivatives” in the brand’s range. “Hybrids were touted as something boring and not sporty, but the technology hasn’t been fully exhausted,” he said. “We’ve just started, and there’s a long way to go.”