Citroën: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Citroën (French pronunciation: [sitʁoˈɛn]) is a French automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1919 by André Citroën, it was the one of the world's first mass-production car company outside of the USA.[citation needed] Since 1976 it has been part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, and its headquarters is on rue Fructidor,[citation needed] in Saint-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis, near Paris.[2] The brand celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009.

Originally a mass-market car maker with relatively straightforward designs, Citroën shocked the world in 1934 with the innovative Traction Avant, the world's first mass-production front wheel drive car (1934–57). Other significant models include the H Van (1947–81), the 2CV (1948–90), the DS (1955–1975) and the CX (1974–91).

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



Logo used until 2009
1921 Citroen B2 Torpedo
1923 "Type C" 5CV
Pre-War and Post 1952 Traction Avant 11CV
1955 H Van
1955 2CV
1967 DS Pallas
1968 Ami 6
1969 Méhari
1969 Dyane 6
1972 SM
1982 CX
1983 GSA
1983 Visa
1988 AX
1994 Xantia
1994 XM
1995 ZX Estate
1998 Saxo
2000 Xsara
2001 Xsara Picasso
2009 Citroën C5 Break

Early years

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.[citation needed] 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. In 1928, Citroën introduced the first all-steel body in Europe.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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, a passenger car with the world’s first commercially available diesel engine, developed with Harry Ricardo.

The Michelin era

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 1934, debt forced the company into foreclosure and it was then taken over by its biggest creditor, the tire company Michelin. Fortunately for Michelin, the Traction Avant met with market acceptance and the basic philosophy that had led to this design continued.

Citroën has always been undercapitalized, so its vehicles have a tradition 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.

During the German occupation of France in World War II, Citroën researchers continued their work in secret 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 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, and Xantia. 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 located just ahead of the driver's door allowed the driver to adjust the height of the car. On right-hand drive models, this lever was located behind the driver's right foot. The height-adjustability of the suspension allowed for clearing obstacles, fording shallow (slow-moving) streams, and changing tires. This type of suspension was 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.

Financial restructuring

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 era

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 eliminated Citroën's ambitious attitude to engineering and styling in an effort to rebrand the marque as an economy brand. In the 1980s, Citroën models were increasingly Peugeot-based, which was part of a 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 instruments, switchgear and dashboards replaced clean sheet ergonomic designs, complete with self cancelling indicators that Citroën had previously refused to adopt on ergonomic grounds.

Citroën has 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. 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. The introduction of newer models, such as the long-awaited XM replacement, the C6, indicates Citroën's continued commitment to innovation in the 21st century. But the days of clean-sheet thinking and truly radical innovation are long gone. Being too avant-garde and too far ahead of public taste is too risky.

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

At the beginning of 2009, Citroën announced that is was setting up a luxury brand called DS that would run parallel alongside its current car range. This brand (or marque) would use the name of the 1955 car to represent its future cars starting with the DS 3, a high quality small car based on the floor plan of the new C3. This car will début in early 2010 quickly followed by the larger DS 4 and the large DS 5 respectively. They will all be badged with the new DS logo rather than the familiar Citroën double chevron and all will have markedly different styling from their equivalent sister car.[3][4]

European Car of the Year awards



USA Car of the Year award

Passenger cars and vans

Pre war

  • Kégresse track
  • 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)

Post war (1970–1980)


  • AX (1986–1998)
  • BX (1982–1994)
  • C15 (1984–2005)
  • Evasion (1994–2002)
  • Citroën Fukang 988 (1998–2003): derivative for the Chinese market
  • Saxo (1995–2003)
  • XM (1989–2000)
  • Xantia (1993–2001)
  • ZX (1991–1997)
  • Synergie (1995–2001)
  • Xsara (1997–2006)
  • Xsara Picasso (1999–2008)
  • C5 (2001–2008)
  • C3 (2002–2009)

Current and future

  • C-ZERO(2010) - an electric vehicle
  • C1 (2005–present) - a 4-seat, 3 or 5-door hatchback, city car with I3 petrol or diesel engine
  • C2 (2004–present) - a 3 door supermini-class car with I4 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
  • 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
  • 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 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

Trucks and buses



  • 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 fueled

Alternative propulsion Citröen vehicles includes


Citröen C-Cactus diesel-electric hybrid vehicle


Biofuel Citroëns include the Citroën C4 BioFlex (bioethanol flexible fuel vehicle).[5]

Electric vehicles

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,[6][7] 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.[8]

Citroën showed the plug-in hybrid REVOLTe at the 2009 Frankfurt Motorshow.[9][10]

Concept cars

4x4 Conversions

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 [11].


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)


  • Citroën is a major competitor in the World Rally Championship. After an abortive attempt with the Group B Citroën BX 4TC in 1986, and the Citroën ZX Rally raid win the Rally raid Constructors' Championship in 1993, 1994, 1995 ,1996 ,1997 with Pierre Lartigue and Ari Vatanen and win the Dakar Rally in 1991, 1994, 1995 ,1996 and kit-car successes in the 1990s, a works WRC squad debutted in 2001, winning the Constructors' title in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, French driver Sébastien Loeb won the Drivers' Championship driving the Citroën Xsara WRC, and in 2007, 2008 and 2009 with the Citroën C4 WRC. Citroën missed out on the Constructors title to Ford in both 2006 and 2007.
  • In the early 1970s, Citroën investigated the possibility of producing helicopters with the Wankel engines manufactured by its subsidiary Comotor. Some models, like the Citroën RE2, were flight-tested and still exist.
  • Citroën vehicles are well known for their longevity[citation needed]—many CX models have travelled over 400,000 kilometers.
  • The Iconic Citroën DS celebrated its 50th birthday in 2005 with over 2000 DSs, covering every year of production from 1955 to 1975, driving in convoy through the streets of Paris. One car travelled from Australia for the event.
  • Australia has been one of Citroën's longest continuous sales markets in the world beginning in 1925. The DS was made in Australia in the 1960s, the only Citroën to be built there.
  • One of Citroën's biggest factories is in Vigo, Spain.
  • Beginning in 1955, Citroën began to use a steering wheel with only one spoke.
  • The defunct language magazine Quinto Lingo ran an article of puns, including this one in German: "Kennst du das Land wo die Citroëns blūhn?" ("Do you know the land where the Citroëns bloom?")
  • In the TV show The Mentalist Simon Baker (as investigator Patrick Jane) drives a Citroën DS 21.
  • In 2008/9 Citroën appointed Landor Associates to reinvent the corporate brand for the Citroën dealer network.[12] A new logo, a metallic variation on the previous logo, and a new strapline "Creative Technologie" was created. This is currently being rolled out around the world and is expected to take three to five years.
  • Citroën celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009. As well as a new brand identity, launched in February 2009, a number of other events took place throughout the year, including the launch of a special-edition C3 Picasso 90th Anniversary Edition in the UK.

See also


  1. ^ "The Company". Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  2. ^ "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.."
  3. ^ "Citroen DS returns | Auto Express News | News". Auto Express. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  4. ^ "Site officiel de la CITROËN DS3". Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  5. ^ "Frankfurt Green: Citroen C-Cactus". Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Blanco, Sebastian (2008-10-02). "Paris 2008: Citroën's Hypnos brings the rainbow into your car". Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  8. ^ Julian Marsh. "Citroën at the Paris Motor Show 2008". Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  9. ^ Ed (2009-09-16). "Citroen's REVOLTe - the electric 2CV". Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  10. ^ "Citroen REVOLTe Concept (2009) with pictures and wallpapers". 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ / Communicate magazine / Communicate magazine, June 2009

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also citroen


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. A French automobile manufacturer


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address