PARIS (AP) -- In the midst of what some automobile executives call the worst car market since the Great Depression, one French carmaker is turning for help from a goddess.
Citroen unveiled a new car line Thursday named after the DS, an iconic car of the 1950s and 1960s whose fans still buy and trade them more than three decades after the last one rolled off a Paris assembly line.
The DS is pronounced in French like the word for goddess, which became its nickname -- but the name was the only thing the new cars shown off in a flashy Paris production Thursday have in common with the original.
The new car will come in three models, called DS3, DS4 and DS5. The model now being shown is a standard, sleek, modern sedan that lacks the futuristic curves or long, sloping body of the classic DS.
French President Charles de Gaulle rode in one, French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot reportedly owned one, and philosopher Roland Barthes even weighed in with an essay on the car.
The revival of the DS name is part of a wider rebranding effort aimed at moving France's No. 3 carmaker more upmarket. Production versions of the new models are expected to hit showrooms in 2010.
Citroen's worldwide car sales fell 7.5 percent last year, in a European market that shrank by 7.8 percent.