Citroen DefinitionSource (google.com.pk)
Citroën (pronounced See-Troh-Enn) is a French automobile manufacturer, founded in 1919 by André Citroën. Since 1976 it has been part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, and its headquarters is on rue Fructidor, Paris.
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 (1934-56). Significant models include the H Van (1947-81, "HY"), the 2CV (1948-90, "The Duck"), the DS (1955-1975, "Goddess") and the CX (1974-91).
The Citroën Motor Company logo of the double chevron comes from the shape of the double helical gear.
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. 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.
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 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 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.