The Big Car Database

Citroen

Citroën is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group since 1976. It was founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën (1878–1935).

In 1934, Citroën secured its reputation for innovation with the Traction Avant, not only the world's first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, but also one of the first cars to feature a unitary-type body, with no chassis frame holding the mechanical components.

In 1954 Citroën produced the world's first hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system, then in 1955 the revolutionary DS, the first mass production car with modern disc brakes. In 1967, Citroën introduced swiveling headlights in several models, allowing for greater visibility on winding roads. Citroën cars have received various international and national-level awards, including three European Car of the Year.

Citroën has a successful history in motorsport, and is the only automobile manufacturer to have won three different official championships from the International Automobile Federation: the World Rally Raid Championship (five times), the World Rally Championship (eight times ), and the World Touring Car Championship.

Citroën has been selling vehicles in China since 1984, and it represents a major market for the brand today, largely via the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën joint venture. In 2014, when PSA Peugeot Citroën ran into severe financial difficulties, the Dongfeng Motor Corporation took an ownership stake.

The brand celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009. The Citroën's C_42 showroom, on the Champs Elysées in Paris, is a place where Citroën organises some exhibitions, shows its cars and concept cars.

Type

Société Anonyme
Traded as Citroën S.A
Industry Automotive
Founded 1919
Founder André Citroën
Headquarters Saint-Ouen, France

Area served

Worldwide, except United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Asia

Key people

Linda Jackson, Director
Products Automobiles, Commercial Vehicles
Services Citroën Insurance
Owner PSA Peugeot Citroën
Parent PSA Peugeot Citroën
Divisions DS Automobiles
Slogan Spirit of avant-garde
Website Citroen.com

History

Early years

André CitroënAndré Citroën built armaments for France during World War I; after the war, however, unless he planned ahead he knew he would have a modern factory without a product. There was nothing automatic about the decision to become an automobile manufacturer once the war was finished, but the auto-business was one that Citroën knew well, thanks to a successful six-year stint working with Mors between 1908 and the outbreak of war. The decision to switch to automobile manufacturing was evidently taken as early as 1916 which is when Citroën asked the engineer Louis Dufresne, previously with Panhard, to design a technically sophisticated 18HP automobile for which he could use his factory once peace broke out. Long before that happened, however, he had modified his vision, and decided, (like Henry Ford), that the best post war opportunities in auto-making would involve a lighter car of good quality, but made in sufficient quantities to be priced enticingly. 

In February 1917 Citroën contacted another engineer, Jules Salomon, who already had a considerable reputation within the French automotive sector as the creator, in 1909, of a little car called Le Zèbre. André Citroën's mandate was characteristically demanding and characteristically simple: to produce an all-new design for a 10 HP car that would be better equipped, more robust and less costly to produce than any rival product at the time. The result was the Type A, announced to the press, just four months after the guns fell silent, in March 1919. The first "production" Type A emerged from the factory at the end of May, and in June it was exhibited at a show room in the Champs-Élysées which normally sold Alda cars. Citroën persuaded the owner of the Alda business, Fernand Charron, to lend him the show-room (just as a few years later Charron would be persuaded to become a major investor in Citroën business). On 7 July 1919 the first customer took delivery of a new Citroën 10HP "Type A".

That same year, André Citroën briefly negotiated with General Motors on a proposed sale of the Citroën company to GM. The deal nearly closed, but GM ultimately decided that its management and capital would be too overstretched by the takeover. thus Citroën remained independent till 1935.

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

Demonstrating extraordinary toughness, a 1923 Citroën that had already travelled 48,000 km (30,000 mi) was the first car to be driven around Australia. The car, a 1923 Citroën 5CV Type C Torpedo, was driven by Neville Westwood from Perth, Western Australia, on a round trip from August to December 1925. The car is now fully restored and in the collection of the National Museum of Australia.

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. 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 1927, the bank Lazard helped Citroën by bringing new, much-needed funds as well as by renegotiating its debt—for example, by buying out the SOVAC. It went even further by entering in its capital and being represented at the board. The three directors sent by Lazard were Raymond Philippe, Andre Meyer, and Paul Frantzen.

André Citroën perceived the need to differentiate his product, to avoid the low price competition surrounding his conventional rear drive models in the late 1920s/early 1930s. In 1933, Citroën introduced the Rosalie, the first commercially available passenger car with a diesel engine, developed with Harry Ricardo.

Traction Avant and Michelin ownership

Traction Avant

The Traction Avant is a car that pioneered mass production of three revolutionary features that are still in use today: a unitary body with no separate frame, four-wheel independent suspension, and front-wheel drive. The vast majority of cars for many decades were similar in conception to the Ford Model T – a body bolted onto a ladder frame which held all the mechanical elements of the car, a solid rear axle that rigidly connected the rear wheels, and rear wheel drive. The Model T school of automobile engineering proved popular, because it was thought to be cheap to build, but it did pose dynamic defects as cars became more capable, and resulted in a heavier car, which is why cars today are more like the Traction Avant than the Model T under the skin.

Citroën commissioned the American Budd Company to create a prototype, which evolved into the 7-horsepower (CV), 32 hp (24 kW) Traction Avant of 1934.

Achieving quick development of the Traction Avant, tearing down and rebuilding the factory (in five months), and the extensive marketing efforts were investments that were too costly for Citroën to do all at once, 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 its principal shareholder. Fortunately for Michelin, the technologically advanced Traction Avant met with market acceptance, and the basic philosophy of cutting edge technology used as a differentiator continued until the late 1990s. 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, founder André Citroën died from stomach cancer.

Research breakthroughs

Pierre-Jules Boulanger had been a First World War air reconnaissance photography specialist with the French Air Force. He was capable and effective and finished the war having risen to the rank of captain. He was also courageous, having been 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 Édouard 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 organized a "go slow" on 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 theGestapo 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.

Citroën researchers, including Paul Magès, continued their work in secret, against the express orders of the Germans, and developed the concepts that were later brought to market in three remarkable vehicles – a small car (2CV), a delivery van (Type H), and a large, swift family car (DS). These were widely regarded by contemporary journalists as avant garde, even radical, solutions to automotive design.

This began a decades long period of unusual brand loyalty normally seen in the automobile industry only in niche brands, like Porsche and Ferrari.

The Deux Chevaux

Citroën unveiled the 2CV—signifying two fiscal horsepower, initially only 12 hp (8.9 kW)—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. It was unusually inexpensive to purchase and with its tiny two cylinder engine, inexpensive to run as well. The 2CV pioneered a very soft, interconnected suspension, but did not have the more complex self-levelling feature. This car remained in production, with only minor changes, until 1990 and was a common sight on French roads until recently. 8.8 Million 2CV variants were produced in the period 1948–1990.

The Goddess

1955 saw the introduction of the DS, the first full usage of Citroën's now legendary hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system, tested on the rear suspension of the Traction in 1954.

The DS was the first production car with modern disc brakes.

A single high-pressure hydraulic system was used to activate the power steering, suspension, and brakes. Brakes were power assisted, to multiply force applied by the driver.

On the Citromatic (semi-automatic transmission) version, the system also operated the clutch, through a system of pistons in the gearbox cover to shift the gears in the transmission.

From 1968, the DS also introduced directional headlights, that moved with the steering, improving visibility at night.

The streamlined car was remarkable for its era, and had a remarkable sounding name – in French, DS is pronounced day-ess, the same as déesse, which means Goddess. The DS placed third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition.

High pressure hydraulics

This high-pressure hydraulic system would form the basis of over 9 million Citroën cars, including the DS, SM, GS, CX, BX, XM, Xantia, C5, and C6. Self-levelling suspension is the principal user benefit – the car maintains a constant ride height above the road regardless of passenger and cargo load, despite the very soft suspension. This type of suspension is uniquely able to absorb road irregularitieswithout disturbing the occupants. It is often compared to riding on a magic carpet for this reason.

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, later replaced with an electronic switch. The height adjustability of the suspension allows for clearing obstacles, fording shallow (slow-moving) streams, and changing tires.

Citroën was undercapitalised, so its vehicles had a tendency to be underdeveloped at launch, with limited distribution and service networks outside France. As a result, early DS models experienced teething issues with the novel suspension. The hydropneumatics were sorted out and became reliable.

Licensing such a technological leap forward was pursued to a limited extent – in 1965, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow included this suspension. The 1963 Mercedes-Benz 600 and Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 tried to replicate the advantages with a costly, complex, and expensive to maintain air suspension that avoided the Citroën patented technology. By 1975, the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 could finally be produced with the proven hydropneumatic suspension, and Mercedes-Benz continues to offer variations on this technology today.

During Citroën's 1968–75 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.

Aerodynamic pioneer

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 cruising speed was the same as the top speed because of these efforts – the DS could happily run at 100 mph without disturbing the occupants. The firm began using a wind tunnel in the 1950s, enabling them to create highly streamlined cars such as the DS that 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: {\displaystyle {\mathbf {c}}_{\mathrm {x} }\,}.

Expansion and financial challenges

In the 1960s, Citroën undertook a series of financial and development maneuvers, aiming to build on its strength in the 1950s with the successful, 2CV, Type H, and DS models. Since Citroën went bankrupt in 1974, the effectiveness of these maneuvers is not clear.

The maneuvers were to address two key gaps facing the company.

The first was the lack of a midsize car between its own range of very small, cheap cars (2CV/Ami) and large, expensive cars (DS/ID). In today's terms, this would be similar to a brand consisting only of the Tata Nano and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Because of the potential volume, the midsize segment was the most profitable part of the car market, and in 1965 the Citroënesque Renault 16 stepped in to address it.

The second large issue was the lack of a powerful engine suitable for export markets. The post-WW2 Tax horsepower system in France was steeply progressive, and vehicles over 2.0 (later 2.8) liters of engine displacement faced a heavy, annual tax. The result was that cars made in France were considered underpowered outside France.

For both the 1955 DS and 1974 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.

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

In 1964, Citroën partnered with NSU Motorenwerke to develop the Wankel engine via the Comobil (later Comotor) subsidiary. For Citroën, this represented the chance for a technological end run around the French Tax horsepower system – producing a more powerful car while maintaining a small engine. The first production car developed 106 hp with a 1-liter engine, while the standard GS delivered 55 hp with a 1-liter engine.

In 1965, Citroën took over the French carmaker Panhard in the hope of using Panhard's expertise in midsize cars. Cooperation between the two 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.

In 1967, Citroën purchased the truck manufacturer Berliet.

In 1968, Citroën purchased the Italian sports car maker Maserati, again with an eye to producing a more powerful car while maintaining a small engine in line with the French tax horsepower system. The first production car developed 170 hp with a 2.7 liter engine.

This was the 1970 SM, which featured a V6 Maserati engine, hydropneumatic suspension, and a fully powered, self-centering steering system called DIRAVI. The SM was engineered as if it were replacing the DS family car, a level of investment the small luxury Grand Touring car sector alone would never be able to support, even in the best of circumstances.

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

From a model range perspective, the 1970s started well for Citroën, supported by the successful launch of the long-awaited midsize Citroën GS, finally filling the huge gap between the 2CV and the DS – with a 1-liter, hydropneumatically suspended car. The GS went on to sell 2.5 million units. 601,918 cars were produced just in 1972, up from 526,443 in 1971, and enough to lift the company past Peugeotinto second place among French auto-makers when ranked by volume of units.

Circumstances became more unfavorable for Citroën as the 1970s progressed.

In 1973, Fiat sold its 49% stake in the PARDEVI holding company (that owned Citroën) back to Michelin. The Citroën and Fiat joint announcement indicated that benefits foreseen for their union in 1968 had failed to materialise. This was not in line with the tire company's long term strategy of ending involvements in the car manufacturing business, creating a very unstable ownership situation.

Citroën suffered a financial blow with the 1973 energy crisis. While some models sold well (peak production of the 2CV and its derivatives was 1974), the bets on Comotor and Maserati both had what was now clearly a flaw – high fuel consumption engines.

The teams of Charles Marchetti and Citroën began working together on the development of the RE-2 (fr) helicopter.

In 1974, the carmaker withdrew from North America due to U.S. design regulations that outlawed core features of Citroën cars (see Citroën SM).

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, GS Birotor, CX, SM, Maserati Bora, Maserati Merak, Maserati Quattroporte II, and Maserati Khamsin models— each a technological marvel in its own right.

40 years after the bankruptcy related to the Traction Avant, Citroën went bankrupt again, losing its existence as an independent entity, selling Berliet and Maserati, and closing Comotor.

PSA Peugeot Citroën era

The French government feared large job losses, due to the poor cash flow situation at Citroën and the unstable ownership structure. It arranged talks between Michelin and Citroën and decided to merge Automobiles Citroën and Automobiles Peugeot into a single company. A year after the break with Fiat, on 24 June 1974, Citroën announced their new partnership, this time with Peugeot. Michelin agreed to transfer control of the business to Peugeot.

In December 1974 Peugeot S.A. acquired a 38.2% share of Citroën. On 9 April 1976 they increased their stake of the then bankrupt company to 89.95%, thus creating the PSA Group (where PSA is short for Peugeot Société Anonyme), becoming PSA Peugeot Citroën.

Citroën sold off Maserati to De Tomaso in May 1975, and the Italian firm was able to exploit the sales potential of the models and technology developed by Citroën, as well as exploit the image of the Maserati brand in a downward brand extension to sell 40,000 of the newly designed Bi-Turbo models. Berliet was sold to Renault.

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 ageing assets and substantial liabilities of Chrysler Europe for $1, leading to losses from 1980 to 1985. Since PSA needed a new brand for the Chrysler cars, it resurrected theTalbot name.

Trade union problems

In the early 1980s Citroën was targeted by union action. Events led to a mass demonstration in the streets of Paris on 25 May 1982. Approximately 27,000 Citroën workers demonstrated in affirmation of their wish to work at a company which was being picketed by striking workers who had been blocking access to the factories for four weeks. The demonstrations were successful and six days later work at the plants resumed. Jacques Lombard, one of the company’s senior managers, had gone public with his concerns criticising the strikes.

Taming the innovative spirit

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 Citroën-esque 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's switchgear replaced Citroën's quirky but ergonomic "Lunule" designs, complete with self-cancelling indicators that Citroën had refused to adopt on ergonomic grounds. While the cars were more banal,sales continued steadily.

Geographical expansion

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. 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, Citroën began selling cars in 1984 and building them in 1994 – today it is a major overseas market. The current range of family cars that includes the C3 and Xsara and locally designed cars like the Fukang and Elysée models. The Citroën brand recently increased its Chinese sales by 30% in an overall market growth of 11% and ranks highest in the 2014 customer satisfaction survey by JD Power in China.

Citroën is a global brand except in North America, where the company has not returned since the SM was effectively banned in 1974 for not meeting U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) bumper height regulations.

Recent decades

From 2003–10, Citroën produced the C3 Pluriel, an unusual convertible with allusions to the 1948–90 2CV model, both in body style (such as the bonnet) and in its all-round practicality.

In 2001, Citroën acknowledged its history of innovation when it opened a museum of its many significant vehicles – the 'Conservatoire,' with 300 cars.

With the severe decline in European auto sales after 2009, worldwide sales of vehicles declined from 1,460,373 in 2010 to 1,435,688 in 2011, with 961,156 of these sold in Europe.

In 2011 Groupe PSA was close to forming a partnership with BMW for the development of electric and hybrid vehicles between BMW and all of the PSA brands, but the talks fell through shortly after Groupe PSA, Citroen's parent company, announced a partnership with GM which later failed.

Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën continues growing, and has developed 8 car designs exclusive to the China market. Currently in China, Citroën (and Peugeot) face the same challenge as Volkswagen: too many sedans and hatchbacks, without enough models in the strong selling SUV and minivan/MPV categories.

The brand ranks highest in the 2014 customer satisfaction survey by JD Power in China, above luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and above mass market brands like Volkswagen ranking only thirteenth and seventeenth. On the 10 first months of 2014 in China, the sales of Donfeng Citroën cars increased by 30% in an overall market growth of 11%.

Despite the near death financial experience of PSA Peugeot Citroën in 2014, and financial rescue by Dongfeng Motors, the "Citroën" and "DS" brands are developing new technologies and are both planned to grow 15% by 2020, according to Citroën CEO Linda Jackson and DS CEO Yves Bonnefont.

Since 2013, the model Carolina "Pampita" Ardohaín represents Citroën and its life style in some fashion films.

DS brand

Main article: DS Automobiles

Citroën announced in early 2009 the development of a premiumbrand DS, for Different Spirit or Distinctive Series (although the reference to the historical Citroën DS is evident), to run in parallel to its mainstream cars. The slogan of the DS car marque is "Spirit of avant-garde".

This new series of cars started with the Citroën DS3 in early 2010, a small car based on the floor plan of the new C3. The Citroën DS3 is based on the concept of the produced Citroën C3 Pluriel model and the Citroën DS Inside concept car. The Citroën DS3 is customisable with various roof colours that can contrast with the body panels. The Citroën DS3 was named 2010 Car of the Year by Top Gear Magazine, awarded first supermini four times in a row by the JD Power Satisfaction Survey UK and second most efficient supermini (Citroën DS3 1.6 e-HDi 115 Airdream : True MPG 63.0mpg) byWhat car ? behind the Citroën C3. In 2013, the Citroën DS3 was again the most sold premium subcompact car with 40% of these market shares in Europe, validating the business model of this product development.

The DS series is deeply connected to Citroën, as the DS4, launched in 2010, is based on the 2008 Citroën Hypnos concept car and the DS5, following in 2011, is based on the 2005 Citroën C-SportLounge concept car.

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. Citroën has produced several dramatic-looking concept sports cars of late with the fully working Citroën Survolt being badged as a DS. Indeed, the 2014 DS Divine concept car develops the Citroën Survolt prototype as the future sport coupé of the DS range.

In China, Citroën has "stand alone" DS sale rooms, including vehicle plants built for the production of these vehicles. Since 2014, Citroën sells the Chinese built DS 5LS and DS 6WR in China.

Awards

Citroën was recognized in the 1999 Car of the Century competition as producing the third most influential car of the 20th century, the Citroën DS, which trailed only the Ford Model T and BMC Mini.

Citroën has produced three winners of the 50-year-old European Car of the Year award, and many rated second or third place.

  • 1971 – Citroën GS
  • 1975 – Citroën CX
  • 1990 – Citroën XM

Citroën has produced one winner of the United States Motor Trend Car of the Year award – the original Car of the Year designation, which began in 1949. This was especially significant because this award used to be only given to cars designed and built in the United States.

  • 1972 – Citroën SM

Citroën has produced eight Auto Europa winners in 28 years, since 1987. Auto Europa is the prize awarded by the jury of the Italian Union of Automotive Journalists (UIGA), which annually celebrates the best car produced at least at 10,000 units in the 27 countries of the European Union: Citroën XM(1990), Citroën ZX (1992), Citroën Xantia (1994), Citroën Xsara Picasso (2001), Citroën C5 (2002), Citroën C3 (2003), Citroën C4 (2005) and Citroën DS4 (2012).

Citroën Racing

See also: Citroën World Rally Team and Citroën World Touring Car Team

Citroën Racing, previously known as Citroën Sport and before that as Citroën Competitions, is the team responsible for Citroën's sporting activities. It is a successful winning competitor in the World Rally Championship and in the World Touring Car Championship.

Early rally wins for Citroën vehicles

Citroën vehicles were entered in endurance rally driving events beginning in 1956, with the introduction of the DS. The brand was successful and won many key events over a decades long period, with what was essentially the same production car design.

Citroën has produced eight Auto Europa winners in 28 years, since 1987. Auto Europa is the prize awarded by the jury of the Italian Union of Automotive Journalists (UIGA), which annually celebrates the best car produced at least at 10,000 units in the 27 countries of the European Union: Citroën XM(1990), Citroën ZX (1992), Citroën Xantia (1994), Citroën Xsara Picasso (2001), Citroën C5 (2002), Citroën C3 (2003), Citroën C4 (2005) and Citroën DS4 (2012).

Citroën Racing

See also: Citroën World Rally Team and Citroën World Touring Car Team

Citroën Racing, previously known as Citroën Sport and before that as Citroën Competitions, is the team responsible for Citroën's sporting activities. It is a successful winning competitor in the World Rally Championship and in the World Touring Car Championship.

Early rally wins for Citroën vehicles

Citroën vehicles were entered in endurance rally driving events beginning in 1956, with the introduction of the DS. The brand was successful and won many key events over a decades long period, with what was essentially the same production car design.

Year Rally Winning Car
1959 Monaco Monte Carlo Rally Citroën DS
1961 France Tour de Corse Citroën DS
1962 Finland Rally Finland Citroën DS
1963 France Tour de Corse Citroën DS
1966 Monaco Monte Carlo Rally Citroën DS
1969 Portugal Rally de Portugal Citroën DS
1969 Morocco Rallye du Maroc Citroën DS
1970 Morocco Rallye du Maroc Citroën DS
1971 Morocco Rallye du Maroc Citroën SM
1974 United Kingdom 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally Citroën DS (privately entered)

Racing the 2CV

Citroën discovered that while racing the uniquely slow 2CV against other cars made little sense, they could be interesting to watch racing against each other. Citroën Competitions sponsored three long distance competitions – Paris-Kaboul-Paris in 1970, Paris-Persepolis-Paris in 1972, and Raid Afrique in 1973.

Enthusiasts carried on the tradition with 2CV Cross – a group of 2CV's racing around a dirt track – a sport that continues today.

Rebuilding the competition group

The Citroën Competitions division was impacted negatively by the firm's 1974 bankruptcy.

Competitive rallying was also changing – away from standard production cars to specially developed low volume models. In response to the entry of the competitive short wheel base Group B 4 wheel driveAudi Quattro into rallying, Citroën developed the heavily modified Group B Citroën BX 4TC in 1986.

The team returned successfully with the Citroën ZX Rally Raid to win the Rally Raid Manufacturer's Championship five times (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997) with Pierre Lartigue and Ari Vatanen. Citroën Racing won the Dakar Rally four times, in 1991, continuing the serial of four victories of Peugeot sport, and then again in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

From 2001, the Citroën Racing team returned successfully to the World Rally Championship, winning eight times the Manufacturer's Title, continuing the serial of three WRC Championships victories ofPeugeot sport, in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Citroën WRC Team pilot Sébastien Loeb also won nine Drivers' Championships. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, the French pilot won the Drivers' Championship, driving the Citroën Xsara WRC, in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 with the Citroën C4 WRC, and in 2011 and 2012 with the new Citroën DS3 WRC.

The Citroën World Rally Team has a record of 97 victories in the World Rally Championship. In 2014, Citroën was the automaker that won the most world championship titles: 14 World Champion titles in 15 appearances. Citroën won the World Rally Raid Championship 5 times, the World Rally Championship 8 times, and the World Touring Car Championship in its first participation.

New competition division for touring cars

In 2013, Citroën Racing created a new sub-division, the Citroën World Touring Car Team, in order to attempt the 2014 World Touring Car Championship. The name Citroën C-Elysée WTCC has been chosen for the race car running in this world competition. It was developed in a few months, thanks to the experience of the Citroën World Rally Team. Citroën revealed a thirty-minute film on its Internet channel, to show the different steps to the C-Elysée project development : Projet M43 WTCC, Citroën WTCC 2014.

The Citroën World Touring Car Team won fourteen victories out of the fifteen first races of the 2014 WTCC season, in spite of the handicap of the 60 kg Compensation Weight put to the leading cars. TheCitroën/Total WTCC Team won the Manufacturer's WTCC Championship, 5 races before the end of the season, after the 2014 Shanghai race, where Citroën won first, second, third and fourth place, and recorded the fastest lap time. The Citroën World Touring Car Team pilots also got the three first ranks of the Drivers' World Touring Car Championship.

Concept cars

 

Citroen has produced numerous concept cars over the decades, previewing future design trends or technologies. Notable concepts include the Citroën Karin (1980),Citroën Activa (1988), Citroën C-Métisse (2006), GT by Citroën (2008) and Citroën Survolt (2010).

Logo

The origin of the logo may be traced back to a trip made by the 22-year-old André Citroën to Łódź city, Poland, 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 subtleherringbones, 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.

In February 2009 Citroën launched a new brand identity to celebrate its 90th anniversary, replacing the 1977 design. The new logo was designed by Landor Associates — 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 over90 years of Citroën was commissioned to announce the new identity to the public. The new look is currently being rolled out to dealers globally and is expected to take three to five years.

Factories

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires): Berlingo First
  • Argentina (Villa Bosch): C4, C4 L
  • Brazil (Porto Real): C3, C3 Picasso
  • France (Mulhouse): C4, DS4
  • France (Poissy): C3, DS3
  • France (Aulnay): C3 (closing 2014)
  • France (Sochaux): DS5
  • France (Rennes): C5
  • Portugal (Mangualde): Berlingo First
  • Slovakia (Trnava): C3 Picasso
  • Spain (Madrid): C3, C4 Cactus
  • Spain (Vigo): Berlingo First, Berlingo, C4 Picasso / C4 Grand Picasso, C-Elysee
  • Turkey (Bursa): Nemo

Some joint venture models are manufactured in third party or joint venture factories, including:

  • China (Shenzhen), Chang'an PSA joint venture: DS 5LS and DS 6WR
  • China (Wuhan), Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile joint venture: C-Elysee, C3 L, Xsara Picasso, C4 L, C5
  • Czech Republic (Kolín), Toyota/PSA joint venture: C1
  • France (Valenciennes) PSA/Fiat joint venture Sevel Nord: Citroën Jumpy/Dispatch
  • Italy (Val di Sangro), PSA/Fiat joint venture Sevel Sud: Jumper/Relay
  • Japan (Mizushima). Mitsubishi Motors plant: C-Zero
  • Russia (Kaluga), PSA/Mitsubishi joint venture : C4, C-Crosser
  • Turkey, Karsan plant: Berlingo
 

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