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Citroën

Citroën

France France (1919 - present)
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History


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History

André Citroen, 1920

André Citroen, 1920

© photo courtesy of: Citroën

André Citroën had already been involved in the automotive industry for many years, where he produced gears. While the First World War was taking place, André Citroën was producing munitions and armaments for France. Once the conflict was over, Citroën was left with an "unworthy" factory, given that he no longer needed to produce those equipments.

He then turned his factory into a car manufacturing plant, which produced innovatively designed cars for the masses. Citroën, as a good marketeer can be, made it to the Guinness Book of Records by making use of the Eiffel Tower as the world's largest billboard, where a huge Citroën advertising sign was placed in 1925 and remained until 1934.

That year, and after experiencing a rough time in its finances, the French brand launched the first mass-production car with front-wheel drive system -- the vanguardist Traction AvantTraction AvantCitroën Traction AvantFrance, 1934 > 19571 serie
23 versions
54 photos
. Such launch let the world amazed with the car's completely innovative features alongsite the front-wheel drive, like front-wheel independent suspension and a unitary frame body. This necessary means to quickly develop and produce this model were, however, really costful and too ambicious for the company's possibilities, which let to Citroën's financial plunge.

Michelin tire company was Citroën's biggest creditor by the time the car manufacturer was forced to shut down car production, in 1934, and eventually they bought out Citroën that year. But even while France was being occupied by the German, during World War II, the car brand's researchers still secretly carried on with their work .

In 1953 Citroën began cooperating with French car company PanhardPanhardPanhardFrance, 1887 > 19688 models
1 photo
and then ended up buying them out in 1965, although Panhard stopped producing cars 2 years later. In 1968, the brand's main shareholder up until that time, sold 49% of its stakes at Citroën SA Michelin to Italian carmaker FiatFiatFiatItaly, 1899 > present158 models
4849 photos
35 videos
. Just shortly after, Citroën took over Italian sports car brand MaseratiMaseratiMaseratiItaly, 1914 > present62 models
687 photos
7 videos
.

Citroën Traction

Citroën Traction

© photo courtesy of: Citroën

The energy crisis of 1973, alongsite another wave of high development costs, led to yet another financial plunge for Citroën, making shareholder FIAT feel forced to sell its 49% stake back to Michelin. Still, that was no longer enough to avoid the bankrupticy Citroën experienced just in less than a year. That led to the French government deciding on merging Citroën and PeugeotPeugeotPeugeotFrance, 1882 > present120 models
3781 photos
7 videos
car companies into a sole one, in order to avoid the huge number of unemployees that would result from the factory's closure.

In 1974 Peugeot would acquire 38.2% of Citroën, which granted them (Peugeot) the power of decision, and then they got rid of the Maserati company by selling it off to another Italian carmaker, DeTomasoDe TomasoDe TomasoItaly, 1959 > present10 models
36 photos
, the following year. In May 1976 Peugeot finally completed the takeover of Citroën by taking control of 90% of their stakes. PSA Peugeot Citroën was born out of the two car companies' complete merging and it indeed became a success in terms of profits.

Financial gains were, however, counterbalanced with some losses between 1980 and 1985, which were due to the company's purchase of the ChryslerChryslerChryslerUnited States of America, 1925 > present70 models
873 photos
1 video
Europe assets (rebranded under the name Talbot). PSA's goal of converting Citroën into an economic car brand resulted on the Citroën models starting to lose their own identity and ambition. Citroën cars' engineering and style became more and more based on the Peugeot models and were no longer anything else than weaker Peugeot versions.

Citroën eventually managed to start recovering their innovative tendencies somewhere in the late 1990's and somewhat restored their long-lost ambitious traits throughout the following decade. The company's 2007 report states that Citroën produced an annual amount of 1.141.800 vehicles.



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