12 November 2019

Citroën : 100 Years Old

The Traction Avant model

André-Gustave Citroën started making cars in 1919. He took advantage of mass production pioneerd by Henry Ford to become a volume producer of cars. Citroën developed a reputation for being innovative too. However, it was sometimes under financial pressure and eventually filed for bankruptcy at the end of 1934. Michelin became the majority shareholder.

After World War II, the 2CV was introduced and quickly became a very popular model. Then in 1955 the technically advanced DS was released to much acclaim. Despite successes, the early 1970's were problematic for the company and it again went into bankruptcy.

To protect jobs, the French Government arranged talks that eventually led to PSA (Peugeot) taking control of Citroën. Synergies were achieved between the car brands but in doing that, Citroën's uniqueness and innovation were sacrificed.

Today Citroën moves along in a crowded mainstream car market, doing well enough but not outstandingly. It's recently lost ground in China and the DS premium brand (from 2010) has been not very popular. Had Citroën been moved upmarket after 1974, maybe now it would be accepted as a premium marque in its own right. The problem was jobs would have been lost in the process, something the French government would not have tolerated.

Citroën has started releasing crossover cars which have been well received. It has a loyal following, mainly in Europe where 85% of its vehicles are currently sold. For more on the brand, simply click on the links below for past articles I have written.

Citroën production by model 1945-59
Citroën production by model 1960-69
Citroën production by model 1970-79
Citroën production by model 1980-89
Citroën production by model 1990-99
Citroën production by model 2000-09
Citroën sales by model January - June 2019
DS sales by model January - June 2019

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