History of Citroen Jul 25, 2013 17:53:49 GMT -5
Post by tiboz2k on Jul 25, 2013 17:53:49 GMT -5
Citroën is a major French automobile manufacturer, part of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group.
Founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroën (1878–1935), Citroën was the first mass-production car company outside the USA and pioneered the modern concept of creating a sales and services network that complements the motor car. Within eight years Citroën had become Europe's largest car manufacturer and the 4th largest in the world.
The Eiffel Tower served as a billboard for Citroën from 1925 to 1934.
Citroën earned a reputation for innovation and revolutionary engineering, which is reflected in the company's slogan "Créative Technologie". Its history of innovation began with its founding, when André-Gustave Citroën introduced the first industrial mass production of vehicles outside the United States, a technique he developed while mass-producing armaments for the French military in World War I. In 1924, Citroën produced Europe’s first all-steel-bodied car, the B-10.In 1934, Citroën secured its reputation for innovation with its Traction Avant, not only the world's first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, but also one of the first cars to feature a monocoque-type body.In 1954 Citroën produced the world's first hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system,then in 1955 the revolutionary Citroën DS, the first European production car with disc brakes.In 1967, Citroën introduced the first swiveling headlights in several models, allowing for greater visibility on winding roads.
The year 1968 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).
That year Citroën purchased the Italian sports car maker Maserati and launched the grand tourer SM, which featured a V6 Maserati engine and a fully powered steering system called DIRAVI. The SM was engineered as if it were replacing the DS, a level of investment the GT sector alone would never be able to support, even in the best of circumstances. Circumstances became more unfavorable as the 1970s progressed. Citroën suffered another financial blow in the 1973 energy crisis. In 1974, the carmaker withdrew from North America owing to design regulations that outlawed core features of Citroën cars.
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, CX, SM, Maserati Bora, Maserati Merak, and Maserati Khamsin models—each a technological marvel in its own right.
Citroën was weak and unable to withstand the softening of the automobile market that accompanied the 1973 oil crisis. That year Fiat withdrew from PARDEVI and returned its 49% stake to Michelin. This was an ominous sign of things to come, and less than a year later Citroën went bankrupt. The French government feared large job losses and arranged talks between Michelin and Peugeot in which it was decided to merge Automobiles Citroën and Automobiles Peugeot into a single company. In 1974, Peugeot purchased 38.2% of Citroën and became responsible for managing the combined activities, in particular their research, purchasing, and investments departments.
Peugeot sold off Maserati to De Tomaso in May 1975, and the Italian firm was quickly able to exploit the image of the Maserati brand to sell tens of thousands of newly designed Bi-Turbo models.
The takeover was completed in May 1976, as Peugeot SA purchased a 90% stake of Citroën SA and the companies were combined into a holding company known as PSA Peugeot Citroën.
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 aging assets of Chrysler Europe, which it rebranded as Talbot, leading to losses from 1980 to 1985.
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 Citroënesque 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 switchgear replaced Citroën's quirky but ergonomic "Lunule" designs, complete with self-cancelling indicators that Citroën had previously refused to adopt on ergonomic grounds.
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. Sales were adversely affected by poor build quality. 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 currently builds a range of family cars that includes the C3 and Xsara and locally designed cars like the Fukang and Elysée models. 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 regulations.
Production of the 2CV ended in 1990. More recently, Citroën has introduced the C3 Pluriel, an unusual convertible with strong allusions to the 2CV, both in body style (such as the bonnet) and in its all-round practicality.The brand celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2009.
Worldwide sales of vehicles reduced from 1,460,373 in 2010 to 1,435,688 in 2011, with 961,156 of these sold in Europe.
Citroën announced in early 2009 the development of a premium sub-brand DS, for Different Spirit or Distinctive Series (although the pun to the historical Citroën DS is evident), to run in parallel to its mainstream cars. 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 DS3 is customisable with various roof colours that can contrast with the body panels.
Following this first model, a DS4 was launched in 2010, and the DS5 followed in 2011.
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 have produced several dramatic-looking concept sports cars of late with the fully working Citroën Survolt being badged as a DS, hinting at current sub-brands future intentions.
In China, Citroën has "stand alone" DS sale rooms, including vehicle plants built for the production of these vehicles.