Automobiles CITROËN
Type Subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroën
Founded 1919
Founder(s) André Citroën
Headquarters Saint-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis, France[1]
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Employees 13,900[2]
Parent PSA Peugeot Citroën
Website Citroë

Citroën (French pronunciation: [sitʁoˈɛn]) is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.

Founded in 1919 by André-Gustave Citroën (1878-1935), Citroën was the first mass-production car company outside the USA [3] and pioneered the modern concept of creating a sales and services network that complements the motor car.[4] Within eight years Citroën had become Europe’s largest car manufacturer, and the 4th largest in the world.[5]

Citroen logo

Logo used until 2009

Tour Eiffel Citroen

The Eiffel Tower served as a billboard for Citroën from 1925 to 1934.

Citroën earned a reputation for innovation and revolutionary engineering, which is reflected in the company’s slogan “Créative Technologie”. Its history of innovation began with its founding when (as noted above), André-Gustave Citroën introduced the first industrial mass production of a vehicles outside the United States (a technique he developed mass-producing armaments for the French military in World War I). In 1924, Citroën produced Europe’s first all-steel-bodied car, the B-10.[6] In 1934, Citroën secured its reputation for innovation with its Traction Avant not only the world’s first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, but also one of the first cars to feature monocoque-type body.[7] In 1954 Citroën produced the world's first hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system, then in 1955 the revolutionary Citroën DS, the first European production car with disc brakes. In 1967, Citroën introduced the first swiveling headlights in several models, allowing for greater visibility on winding roads. The brand celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009.


Early yearsEdit


André Citroën

André Citroën built armaments for France during World War I and after the war he had a factory and no product. In 1919, the business started to produce automobiles, beginning with the conventional Type A. The Type A was designed by Jules Salomon, Chief Design Officer from Le Zèbre.

Citroën was a keen marketer—he used the Eiffel Tower as the world's largest advertising sign, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.[8] He also sponsored expeditions in Asia (Croisière Jaune) and Africa (Croisière Noire), intended to demonstrate the potential for motor vehicles equipped with the Kégresse track system to cross inhospitable regions. The expeditions conveyed scientists and journalists.

In 1924, Citroën began a business relationship with American engineer Edward G. Budd. From 1899, Budd had worked to develop stainless steel bodies for railroad cars, for the Pullman in particular. Budd went on to manufacture steel bodies for many automakers, Dodge being his first big auto client. At the Paris Motor Show in October 1924, Citroën introduced the Citroën B10, the first all-steel body in Europe.[6]

The cars were initially successful in the marketplace, but soon competitors (who were still using a wooden structure for their bodies), introduced new body designs. Citroën did not redesign the bodies of his cars. Citroëns still sold in large quantities in spite of not changing the body design, but the car's low price was the main selling point and Citroën experienced heavy losses.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, Citroën developed the Traction Avant. The Traction Avant had three revolutionary features: a unitary body with no separate frame, front wheel independent suspension, and front wheel drive. Citroën commissioned Budd to create a prototype, which evolved into the 7 horsepower (CV), 32 hp (24 kW) Traction Avant of 1934.

In 1933, Citroën also introduced the Rosalie, the first commercially available passenger car with a diesel engine, developed with Harry Ricardo.

Citroen 5 CV Typ C2 Torpedo 1923

1923 "Type C" 5CV

The Michelin eraEdit

Pierre-Jules Boulanger

Pierre-Jules Boulanger

Achieving quick development of the Traction Avant and its production facilities at the same time was too costly and overly ambitious, causing the financial ruin of the company. In December 1934, despite the assistance of the Michelin company, Citroën filed for bankruptcy. Within the month, Michelin, already the car manufacturer's largest creditor, became in addition its principal shareholder. Fortunately for Michelin, the technologically advanced Traction Avant met with market acceptance, and the basic philosophy that had led to this design continued. Pierre Michelin became the chairman of Citroën. Pierre-Jules Boulanger became the vice-president of Citroën and chief of the Engineering and Design department. In 1935 André Citroën died from stomach cancer.

Citroen Traction-Avant-Cabriolet

Traction-Avant cabriolet

Pierre-Jules Boulanger had been a First World War air reconnaissance photography specialist with the French airforce. He was capable and effective, and finished the war having risen to the rank of captain. He was also courageous, decorated with the Military Cross and the Legion of Honour. He started working for Michelin in 1918, reporting directly to Édouard Michelin, co-director and founder of the business. Boulanger joined the Michelin board in 1922. He became president of Citroën in 1937 after the death of his friend and kept his position until his death in 1950. In 1938, he also became Michelin's joint managing director.

During the German occupation of France in World War II Boulanger refused to meet Dr. Ferdinand Porsche or communicate with the German authorities except through intermediaries. He organised a "go slow" of production of trucks for the Wehrmacht, many of which were sabotaged at the factory, by putting the notch on the oil dipstick in the wrong place, resulting in engine seizure. In 1944 when the Gestapo headquarters in Paris was sacked by the French Resistance, his name was prominent on a Nazi blacklist of the most important "Enemies of the Reich" to be arrested in the event of an allied invasion of France.[9]

Citroën researchers continued their work in secret, against the express orders of the Germans, and developed the concepts that were later brought to market in the 2CV and DS. These were widely regarded by contemporary journalists as avant garde, even radical, solutions to automotive design. This began a period of unusual brand loyalty, normally seen in the automobile industry only in niche brands, like Porsche and Ferrari. The cult-like appeal of the cars to Citroënistes took almost two decades to fade, from 1975 to about 1995.

Citroën was undercapitalised, so its vehicles had a tendency of being underdeveloped at launch, with limited distribution and service networks. For both the important DS and CX models, development of the original engine around which the design was planned proved too expensive for the finances available, and the actual engine used in both cases was a modest and outdated four-cylinder design.

Citroën unveiled the 2CV (2 fiscal horsepower, initially only 12 HP) at the Paris Salon in 1948. The car became a bestseller, achieving the designer's aim of providing rural French people with a motorized alternative to the horse. This car remained in production, with only minor changes, until 1990 and was a common sight on French roads until recently.

1955 saw the introduction of the DS, the first full usage of Citroën's now legendary hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system that was tested on the rear suspension of the last of the Tractions. The DS was the first European production car with disc brakes.

The DS featured power steering, power brakes and power suspension, and—from 1968—directional headlights. A single high-pressure system was used to activate pistons in the gearbox cover to shift the gears in the transmission and to operate the clutch on the Citromatic, Citroën's semi-automatic transmission.

This high-pressure hydraulic system would form the basis of many Citroën cars, including the SM, GS, CX, BX, XM, Xantia, C5 and C6. These vehicles shared the distinguishing feature of rising to operating ride height when the engine was turned on, like a "mechanical camel" (per Car & Driver magazine). A lever beside the driver's seat allowed the driver to adjust the height of the car, this has now been replaced by an electronic switch. The height-adjustability of the suspension allows for clearing obstacles, fording shallow (slow-moving) streams, and changing tires. This type of suspension is uniquely able to absorb road irregularities without disturbing the occupants.

During Citroën's venture with Maserati, the Citroën high-pressure hydraulic system was used on several Maserati models, for power clutch operation (Bora), power pedal adjustment (Bora), pop-up headlights (Bora, Merak), brakes (Bora, Merak, Khamsin), steering (Khamsin), and the entire Quattroporte II prototype, which was a four-door Citroën SM under the skin.

Citroën was one of the early pioneers of the now widespread trend of aerodynamic automobile design, which helps to reduce fuel consumption and improve high-speed performance by reducing wind resistance. The firm began using a wind tunnel in the 1950s, enabling them to create highly streamlined cars such as the DS which were years ahead of their time. So good were the aerodynamics of the CX, that it took its name from the term used to measure drag coeffient - $ \bold c_\mathrm x\, $.

Citroen Tractions at Anet deux fois

Pre-War and Post 1952 Traction Avant 11CV

Citroen H Van 1

1955 H Van

MHV Citroën 2CV

1955 2CV

Citroen Ds100

1967 DS Pallas

AMI 6 1968

1968 Ami 6

Citroën Méhari a Formentera

1969 Méhari

Citroen Dyane 6

1969 Dyane 6

1970 Citroen SM

1970 SM

1982 Citroen CX Prestige

1982 CX

Citroen gsa special

1983 GSA

Citroen LN bleu

Citroën LN

Citroën Visa GT 001

1983 Visa


1988 AX


1991 Citroën BX


Citroën BX

Xantia 01

1996 Xantia

Citroen xm compo

1994 XM

Citroën ZX Aura Turbo D

1995 ZX Estate

Engrenages - 85.488 -

Gears manufactured by André Citroën, the patterns on which were the inspiration for the Citroën cars logo.

Citroen Saxo front 20080403

1998 Saxo

Citroën Berlingo I Vorfacelift front

2000 Berlingo Multispace

Citroën Xsara Tonic

2000 Xsara

Citroen Xsara Picasso

2001 Xsara Picasso

Citroen C5 front 20080519

2002 Citroën C5

Citroen c4

2004 Citroën C4


2006 Citroën C6

Citroen Model C6


Financial restructuringEdit

In 1963, Citroën negotiated with Peugeot to cooperate in the purchase of raw materials and equipment. Talks were broken off in 1965.

That year Citroën took over the French carmaker Panhard in the hope of using Panhard's expertise in midsize cars to complement its own range of very small, cheap cars (e.g., 2CV/Ami) and large, expensive cars (e.g., DS/ID). Cooperation between both companies had begun 12 years earlier, and they had agreed to a partial merger of their sales networks in 1953. Panhard ceased making vehicles in 1967.

1968 saw a restructuring of Citroën's worldwide operations under a new holding company, Citroën SA. Michelin, Citroën's long-time controlling shareholder, sold a 49% stake to FIAT, in what was referred to as the PARDEVI agreement (Participation et Développement Industriels).

That year Citroën purchased the Italian sports car maker Maserati and launched the grand tourer SM, which featured a V6 Maserati engine and a fully powered steering system called DIRAVI. The SM was engineered as if it were replacing the DS, a level of investment the GT sector alone would never be able to support, even in the best of circumstances. Circumstances became more unfavorable as the 1970s progressed. Citroën suffered another financial blow in the 1973 energy crisis. In 1974, the carmaker withdrew from North America, due to design regulations that outlawed core features of Citroën cars.

Huge losses at Citroën were caused by failure of the Comotor rotary engine venture, plus the strategic error of going the 15 years from 1955 to 1970 without a model in the profitable middle range of the European market, and the massive development costs for the GS, CX, SM, Birotor, Maserati Bora, Maserati Merak, and Maserati Khamsin models—each a technological marvel in its own right.

The PSA eraEdit

Citroën was weak and unable to withstand the softening of the automobile market that accompanied the 1973 oil crisis. That year FIAT withdrew from PARDEVI and returned its 49% stake to Michelin. This was an ominous sign of things to come and, less than a year later, Citroën went bankrupt. The French government feared large job losses and arranged talks between Michelin and Peugeot, in which it was decided to merge Automobiles Citroën and Automobiles Peugeot into a single company. In 1974, Peugeot purchased 38.2% of Citroën and became responsible for managing the combined activities, in particular their research, purchasing, and investments departments.

Peugeot sold off Maserati to DeTomaso in May 1975, and the Italian firm was quickly able to exploit the image of the Maserati brand to sell tens of thousands of newly designed Bi-Turbo models.

The takeover was completed in May 1976, as Peugeot SA purchased a 90% stake of Citroën SA and the companies were combined into a holding company, known as PSA Peugeot Citroën.

The PSA venture was a financial success from 1976 to 1979. Citroën had two successful new designs in the market at this time (the GS and CX), a resurgent Citroën 2CV, and the Citroën Dyane in the wake of the oil crisis, and Peugeot was typically prudent in its own finances, launching the Peugeot 104 based Citroën Visa and Citroën LNA. PSA then purchased the aging assets of Chrysler Europe, which it rebranded as Talbot, leading to losses from 1980 to 1985.

PSA gradually diluted Citroën's ambitious attitude to engineering and styling in an effort to rebrand the marque to appeal to a wider market. In the 1980s, Citroën models became increasingly Peugeot-based, following the worldwide motor industry trend called "platform sharing." The 1982 BX used the hydropneumatic suspension system and still had a Citroënesque appearance, while being powered by Peugeot-derived engines and using the floorpan later seen on the Peugeot 405. By the late 1980s, many of the distinctive features of the marque had been removed or diluted - conventional Peugeot switchgear replaced Citroën's quirky but ergonomic "Lunule" designs,[10] complete with self cancelling indicators that Citroën had previously refused to adopt on ergonomic grounds.

Citroën expanded into many new geographic markets. In the late 1970s, the firm developed a small car for production in Romania known as the Oltcit, which it sold in Western Europe as the Citroën Axel. Sales were adversely affected by poor build quality. That joint venture has ended, but a new one between PSA and Toyota is now producing cars like the Citroën C1 in the Czech Republic. In China, the C3 and Xsara are sold alongside the Fukang and Elysée local models by Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile. Citroën is still a global brand except in North America, where the company has not returned since the SM was effectively banned in 1974 for not meeting NHTSA bumper regulations.

Production of the versatile 2CV was ended in 1990. Companies like Chrysler with the CCV concept car, Toyota with the Scion xB and Honda with the Element have recognized the 2CV concept and translated it to the modern era. More recently, Citroën has introduced the C3 Pluriel, an unusual convertible with strong allusions to the 2CV, both in body style (such as the bonnet) and in its all-round practicality. A "retro style" C3-based, post-modern 2cv like the new VW Beetle and BMW MINI is under active consideration by Citroën.

The Pluriel is but one example of Citroën's return to innovation, after launching somewhat dull (although efficient) models throughout the 1990s. Other examples are the C2, C4, and C6.

In 2003, Citroën sold 1,372,500 cars, according to the PSA Peugeot Citroën group's 2003 annual report.


The origin of the logo may be traced by to a trip made to Poland the twenty-two year-old Andre Citroen, where he discovered an innovative design for a chevron shaped gear used in milling. He bought the patent for its application in steel. Mechanically a gear with helical teeth produces an axial force. By adding a second helical gear in opposition this force is cancelled. The two chevrons of the logo represent the intermeshing contact of the two.

The presentation of the logo has evolved over time. Before the war, it was rendered in yellow on a blue background. After the war, the chevrons became more subtle herringbones, usually on a white background. With the company searching for a new image during the 1980s, the logo became white on red to give an impression of dynamism, emphasized by publicity slogan.

On 5 February 2009, Citroen unveiled yet another modernized version of the logo, replacing the 24 year-old 1980s design, now in three dimensions, revitalizing the Citroën identity on all merchandize and dealerships.

Citroën's RenaissanceEdit

In February 2009 Citroën launched a new brand identity to celebrate its 90th Anniversary. This consisted of the new logo, designed by Landor Associates[11] — a 3D metallic variation of the Double Chevron logo accompanied by a new font for the Citroën name and the new slogan "Créative Technologie". A TV campaign reminiscing over 90 years of Citroën was commissioned to announce the new identity to the public.[12] The new look is currently being rolled out to dealers globally and is expected to take three to five years.

A number of other celebratory events took place throughout the year, including processions of Citroëns from 1919 to 2009 through the capital cities of Europe and other continents, and the launch of a special-edition C3 Picasso 90th Anniversary Edition in the UK.

Citroën subsequently announced that it was setting up a premium series of cars under the DS name that would run parallel alongside its current car range. The DS range was launched early in 2010 with the DS3, a premium small car based on the floor plan of the new C3. The DS3 will be followed by the larger DS4 and the large DS5 respectively. Their rear badge is a new DS logo rather than the familiar Citroën double chevron and all will have markedly different styling from their equivalent sister car.[13][14]

Citroën RacingEdit

Citroën Racing, previously known as Citroën Sport, is the team responsible for Citroën's sporting activities. They are a winning competitor in the World Rally Championship. After an abortive attempt with the Group B Citroën BX 4TC in 1986, the team returned with the Citroën ZX Rally Raid to win the Rally Raid Manufacturer's Championship in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 with Pierre Lartigue and Ari Vatanen. They won the Dakar Rally in 1991, 1994, 1995, and 1996.
From 2001 the team started participating in the World Rally Championship, winning the Manufacturer's Title in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In 2004, 2005, and 2006, French driver Sébastien Loeb won the Drivers' Championship driving the Citroën Xsara WRC, and in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 with the Citroën C4 WRC.


European Car of the Year awardsEdit



USA Car of the Year awardEdit

  • 1972 Citroën SM Motor Trend Car of the Year

Passenger cars and vansEdit

Pre warEdit

  • Kégresse track - The Citroen company obtained a license to build the Kegresse Half-track equipped vehicles. In 1924 trials were carried out in France of a half-track machine design by Adolphe Kegresse, which was known as the Citroen-Kegresse. The Half tracks were a Rubber design, but was found to be unsuitable for agricultural use, but subsequently found favour with the military. With light trucks and Staff cars converted.
  • 7CV (1934–1935)
  • 7C (1935–1940)
  • 7U Rosalie (1935–1937)
  • 8CV Rosalie (1932–1935)
  • 8CV (1933–1934)
  • 8NH (1935–1936)
  • 10CV (1933–1934)
  • 11U Rosalie (1935–1937)
  • 11 (1935–1940)
  • 15 (1935–1936)
  • 15/6 (1939–1955)
  • Type A (1919–1921)
  • Type AC4 (1928–1929)
  • Type AC6 (1928–1929)
  • Type B (1921–1928)
  • Type C C2-C3 (1922–1926)
  • C4 & C6 (1928–1934)
  • Traction Avant (1934–1957)
  • TUB van (1939–1941)

Post war (1945–1970)Edit

Post war (1970–1980)Edit


Current and futureEdit

  • C-ZERO (2010) - an electric vehicle
  • C1 (2005–present) - a 4-seat, 3 or 5-door hatchback, city car with 1.3L petrol or diesel engine
  • C3 (from October 2009) - a supermini car with a range of inline-4 engines
  • C4 (2004–present) - a small family car
    • C-Triomphe/Citroën C-Quatre. (2006–present)- a notchback sedan version of the European C4 for the Chinese market, may become the Citroën Sedan
    • C4 Picasso (2007–present) - a range of two compact MPVs, a five-seater and a seven-seater
    • C4 Nouvelle - a variant of the C4 that closely resembles the C4 Picasso, but with noticeable differences, including a sleeker body shape.[15]
  • C5 (2008–present) - a large family car
  • C6 (2005–present) - an executive car
  • C-Crosser (2007–present) - formerly called the C7, is a compact crossover SUV designed for Citroën, and produced by Mitsubishi Motors
  • C8 (2002–present) - Eurovan, a large MPVs resulting from Sevel, a joint-venture of PSA and Fiat, and manufactured at Sevel Nord factory in France, near Valenciennes
  • DS3 (2009–present) - a supermini with a range of engines including a 1.4L I4 16v petrol engine and a 1.6L I4 HDi diesel engine.
  • Berlingo (1996–present) - a panel van and leisure activity vehicle,
    • Berlingo Multispace is a small MPV
  • Elysée - based on the Fukang which is a three-box ZX, the Elysée would appear to be a restyled version of this Chinese market car with a front end reminiscent of that of the Xsara, with many parts (including the dashboard) taken from the Citroën Xsara and Citroën Saxo, for the Chinese market
  • Citroën Fukang (1997–present): derivative the ZX for the Chinese market
  • Jumpy (1995–present)- a small van produced at Sevel Nord and is badged as a Citroën Dispatch in the UK and Ireland,
  • Jumper (1994–present) - a large van produced by Sevel Sud from 1994 and is badged as the Citroën Relay in the UK and Ireland
  • Nemo (2008–present) - a small van,
    • Nemo Multispace is a small MPV
  • DS (Different Spirit)

Trucks and busesEdit



  • Citroën CH14 Currus
  • 1978 Citroën Heuliez C35
  • Jumper van bus
  • 1931 Citroën Type C6 Long
  • 1930s Type 23 bus
  • Type 46 DP UADI
  • 1935 Type 32B
  • 1932-33 Type C6 G1

Alternative fueledEdit

Alternative propulsion Citroën vehicles includes


Citroën C-Cactus diesel-electric hybrid vehicle


Biofuel Citroëns include the Citroën C4 BioFlex (bioethanol flexible fuel vehicle).[16]

Electric vehiclesEdit

In the earlier years, electric cars were produced, e.g. the AX electrique, Saxo electrique etc. but in smaller series.

In the hybrid electric vehicle strategy there are four concept cars HYmotion at the Paris Motor Show 2008: Hypnos,[17][18] illustrating the latest breakthroughs in this field with the hybrid technology HYmotion4; the C4 HYmotion2 and C-Cactus, reflecting Citroën's plans to integrate this promising solution in affordable mass-market vehicles; and the C4 WRC HYmotion4, extending ecological principles to sports cars.[19]

Citroën showed the plug-in hybrid REVOLTe at the 2009 Frankfurt Motorshow.[20][21]

Concept carsEdit

4x4 ConversionsEdit

Citroën Berlingo Dangel

Citroën Berlingo with Dangel 4x4 system

Dangel, a French specialist automobile company based in Sentheim, Alsace, has produced 4x4 versions of Citroën and Peugeot vehicles since 1980. Its first conversion was the Peugeot 504. Dangel currently produces 4x4 conversions of the Citroën Berlingo , the Citroën Jumper and the Citroën Jumpy.[22]


In the early 1970s Citroën investigated the possibility of producing helicopters with the Wankel engines manufactured by its subsidiary Comotor.

  • RE2 Helicopter (flight-tested only)
  • Citroën GS BiRotor (flight-tested only)

See alsoEdit

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Citroën. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. "Saint-Ouen retrouve son fleuve, la Seine." l'Humanité. 28 October 2006. Retrieved on 3 February 2010. "La mort lente des petites entreprises, la délocalisation des plus importantes ont transformé Saint-Ouen. Il ne reste en centre-ville que l’usine Citroën.."
  2. "The Company". Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  3. "NSN".
  4. "Citroë".
  5. Reynolds, John. “André Citroën: Engineer, Explorer, Entrepreneur”. (J H Haynes & Co Ltd) Revised edition (25 August 2006) Page 63
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Citroën – All-Steel Bodywork".
  7. Reynolds, John. “André Citroën: Engineer, Explorer, Entrepreneur”. (J H Haynes & Co Ltd) Revised edition (25 August 2006) inside cover
  8. "European Motor News".
  9. John Reynolds. Citroen 2CV. ISBN 978-1844252077. 
  10. "CITROENET – Lunule Switchgear".
  11. / Communicate magazine / Communicate magazine, June 2009
  12. "90 Years Citroën TV Ad (Youtube Video)".
  13. "Citroen DS returns | Auto Express News | News". Auto Express (2009-02-06). Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  14. "Site officiel de la CITROËN DS3". Retrieved on 2009-09-17.
  15. "Concept Cars". Citroën.
  16. "Frankfurt Green: Citroen C-Cactus". Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  17. [1][dead link]
  18. Blanco, Sebastian (2008-10-02). "Paris 2008: Citroën's Hypnos brings the rainbow into your car". Retrieved on 2009-04-27.
  19. Julian Marsh. "Citroën at the Paris Motor Show 2008". Retrieved on 2009-04-27.[dead link]
  20. Ed (2009-09-16). "Citroen's REVOLTe - the electric 2CV". Retrieved on 2009-10-06.
  21. "Citroen REVOLTe Concept (2009) with pictures and wallpapers". (2009-09-30). Retrieved on 2009-10-06.
  22. "Dangel 4x4 Experts en systèmes 4 roues motrices". Retrieved on 2010-07-09.

External linksEdit

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