Robins & Day has opened the UK’s largest DS Automobiles showroom in Leicester with plans for a COVID-19 secure one-way system to make way for a fashion show catwalk at its official opening event.
The PSA Group-owned franchised retail group opened the doors at the new Abbey Lane facility, which shares a roof with the Peugeot brand, this week and has plans for a stylish official opening event in Spring 2021.
A statement issued by Robins & Day this week said that the new site will house 17 workshop bays with a potential to add a further six during peak demand alongside space to stock up to 150 used cars from across the PSA Group’s brands.
Sarjit Rana, general manager of DS STORE Leicester, said: “We look forward to sharing the exciting story behind DS’ conception with our local customers, and seeing the continued growth of DS.
“It is a great honour to be working so closely with the DS team as we see the opening of their biggest store so far.
“I have full confidence that through the new DS STORE Leicester we will see the ongoing progress of the DS brand and look forward to welcoming the first customers through the door.”
Robins & Day said that its plans for an exclusive fashion show in the Spring of 2021 would look to highlight a “close relationship between DS Automobiles and Haute Couture” – the ultimate embodiment of French luxury.
The brand’s unique fashion-led focus means that customers of DS Leicester will be able to take advantage of DS Just For You – the brand’s new personal shopping experience, or book a slot with the DS Boutique showroom, an exclusive showroom where new customers can experience DS in comfort.
DS STORE Leicester will also host the upcoming DS 9, the new premium saloon model available with a range of plug-in powertrains, when that model reaches the UK.
DS Leicester houses both fast and rapid charging stations, which are complimentary to use for both existing and potential customers.
Alain Descat, the managing director for DS Automobiles UK, said: “We have all been incredibly excited about the opening of the new DS STORE Leicester. A
“A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into getting the site ready so that customers can enjoy the full DS experience at our largest dealership in the UK so far.
“At DS STORE Leicester our customers will have access to the full DS range, including the exciting E-TENSE range, and once available, the upcoming DS 9.
“I have full confidence that the Leicester team will deliver a service in line with DS’s premium standing in a safe and secure way.”
In a manufacturer profile feature for AM earlier this year Descat revealed that prospective DS retailers are now able to join the French premium brand’s franchise for “as little as £150,000”.
Descat said leveraging the virtual reality (VR) technology initially used to launch the DS 7 Crossback in 2017 would enable new investors to establish a dealership for less.
DS’s original CI gave retailers a choice of a five-car DS Store covering 250 square metres-plus or the DS Salon – inside an existing Citroen franchise – of 125 square metres-plus, which accounted for 25 of the brand’s 36 sales points at the time of AM’s interview.
Now the new DS Store CI concept dictates a 150sq-m showroom with just two cars.
Describing how the brand’s Virtual Vision VR solution works, Descat said: “You sit in the seat and then put on the headset and you are in the car.
"You can configure it how you like. You get out of the car and you’re on Place de la Concorde in Paris, and you can hear birds singing. You can move the car around and change the colours.
“The thinking is that as we expand the range we’ll have a new car each year so we will have a six-car showroom.
"The idea is that in a smaller footprint, such as in a city centre, you can still display more cars.”
Descat argued that DS’s resulting £150,000 development cost made it “the most cost-effective entry-point” to the premium car retail sector.