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Citroën is one of the largest French automakers, founded by Ándre-Gustave Citroën in 1919 and headquartered in Paris. It integrated into the PSA Peugeot Citroën group in 1976.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s works, Ándre Citroën was eager to become an engineer from early childhood. Pursuing such a dream, he enrolled in the École Polytechnique. After graduation, he was in the position of an engineering manager at Mors, but it wasn’t exactly what he strived for – to establish his own automobile company.
Ándre Citroën’s philosophy can be expressed in the following: if an idea is really good, a price for it doesn’t matter. At the age of 27, he set up own car company, whose first product, the model A, was launched in 1919. Although the model A didn’t possess some remarkable technical characteristics, it was affordable for an average Parisian. Paris of that time is impossible to imagine without the next Type C, which was a popular taxi model in particular.
The C4 and the C6, produced in the 30s, were more technologically outstanding. They were the first Citroën cars built up with a six-cylinder engine and with a top speed of 62 mph. Still, the most phenomenal innovation was the Traction Avant car (1934). It’s the first front wheel-drive auto mass produced.
In 1954, the automaker turned out the revolutionary Citroën DS that was perfectly designed, equipped with hydropneumatic self-levelling suspencion system and disc brakes. It’s worth of note that Citroën is the first car producer in history to apply these systems in cars. Furthermore, the Citroën DSs are in great demand up to the present.
In the 60s, Citroën purchased such automobile manufacturers as Panhard, Berliet, and Maserati with the intention to widen its experience and modernize the production. However, the acquisition didn’t save it from severe financial difficulties in the 70s due to the oil crisis. The company could stay afloat only if it amalgamated with another one. Thus, PSA Peugeot Citroën appeared in 1976.
The newest Citroën’s models are the Citroën GT, the Citroën C3 Picasso, the Citroën C4-Aircross, the Citroën C-Crosser, the Citroën DS5, the Citroën DS5 LS, the Citroën DS6 WR, and some others.
Citroën is the French automaker that went through a lot of tough situations throughout its history, especially due to economic crises, but it has always been in demand around the world.
1. Two upturned V letters represented on the Citroën’s logo are spiral gears, actually, which Ándre Citroën produced before organizing his own automobile company.
2. Citroën contributed not only to car manufacturing but also to road safety. In 1921, the company made a series of road signs to facilitate driving roads in France.
3. Before starting car mass production in France, Ándre Citroën went to the United States to consult Henry Ford on a moving assembly line technology.
4. Ándre Citroën never spared money on a good advertising. At the opening of the seventh Paris Motor Show, the marque’s name was written in the sky by airplanes.
5. To prove high-quality of his half-track vehicles, Ándre Citroën sent some of them in the Sahara desert. Louis Audouin-Dubreuil and Georges-Marie Haardt travelled from Touggourt (Algeria) to Timbuktu (Mali).
6. Some of Citroën’s ad campaigns were significantly ahead of time such as production of Citroën toy cars. How do you think what car would a child buy when they grew up?
7. Two years later after the Sahara was crossed by Citroën’s half-tracks, Ándre decided to repeat the experience. This time he organized the Croisière Noire expedition, which route was planned from Colomb-Béchar (Algeria) to Cape Town (SAR) from October 1924 till June 1925.
8. Between 1925 and 1934, the Citroën company occupied the largest billboard in the world – its name was written with 250,000 light bulbs at the height of 30 m on the Eiffel Tower.
9. In 1926, nearly one-third of all cars in France were manufactured by Citroën.
10. At the Citroën, it was considered that the Croisière Noire expedition didn’t reveal their full potential. That’s why five years later, the brand’s vehicles crossed Asia, from Beirut to Beijing.
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