Citroen - a Feat by Itself

By: Lance Dixon

Citroen was a brainchild of Andre Citroen. He converted the munition factory at Quai de Javel in Paris into a car factory in 1919. This factory was actually owned by him, where he used to produce armaments for France during the First World War. He wanted to put his factory, which was not producing anything after the war, to some good use. Andre was inspired to get into car manufacturing after being influenced by the industrial model developed by Henry Ford in America.

Andre Citroen had quite a few unique views. He thought about how a car could reach the common man. So he always wanted the cars to be produced in large numbers, hence reducing the costs and thus making them within the reach of the layman. But do not be mistaken, as his idea was to not only produce cars in hoards but to also maintain their quality and standard. With this goal in sight he started manufacturing the first car. The first car made was the Type A model. It was the first of its kind in Europe which was mass-produced, low cost, and yet very well equipped It is known to be the first French car with a left-hand drive. The logo of this company is the "double chevron", for this too, Andre Citroen drew inspiration from his earlier business of gear cutting. The business included mass production of double helically cut gear teeth, which meshed together to form a chevron!

Andre Citroen was also a very good and concerned employer too. He realized that if his cars were to be the best then his employees too would have to be the best. And this required that they stayed in good health mentally and financially. He, in fact, raised the bar of employee facilities at his factory because he cared for them. Facilities like a dental surgery, a sick bay and even a crÃ?che!

After the first car was made, Citroen suffered huge financial losses as it was sold at very low costs while at the same time its competitors were quickly getting newer cars into the market. Another reason for the losses suffered by Citroen was the innovation of the 'Traction Avant' in 1934. It was the first mass produced front wheel drive car. Many automobile companies had ventured into this area but had failed due to several constraints. But Citroen emerged successful, only to be let down later on. As, though the traction was bold and beautiful, its production took a toll on the companies finances and the company was left to face the financial crunch.

Citroen did emerge from the losses for some time, but only to be hit once again, and reached an all time low in 1977. This was due to the weakening of the automobile market after the oil crisis in 1943. Around 1977 bankruptcy had hit Citroen. In the interest of the economy and the workers involved, the government of France initiated talks between Citroen and Peugeot. Thanks to these initiatives Peugeot bought 38% of Citroen and started making all the significant and crucial decisions for Citroen. In 1976 Peugeot went ahead and bought 90% stakes in Citroen. The company from then on, came to be called the PSA Peugeot Citroen. This company too had its share of ups and downs but emerged quickly from them and today is doing extremely well for itself.

All The cars produced by Citroen are renowned as practical and reliable.

The various popular models of this car are C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C3 Pluriel, C4 Picasso, and Berlingo.

Let us acquaint ourselves with them one by one. The C2 was meant as a replacement for the Citroen Saxo. It is a supermini and comes in a 3-door hatchback version. The C3 was also meant to be a replacement for the Citroen Saxo and is a supemini too. It comes in a 2-door convertible or 5-door hatchback version. The C4 was a replacement for the Citroen's Xsara Picasso and has 3-door or 5-door hatchback options. The C5 is a huge family car. It comes in 5-door liftback or 5- door station wagon versions and was developed by the PSA group. The C6 is an executive car and was a replacement for the Citroen XM. Its bonnet has a special design and purpose-it pops up if a pedestrian or an animal is accidentally hit. It is an average size luxury car. The C3 Pluriel is one of the most innovative models made by Citroen. It is a convertible and another very practical car from Citroen. C4 Picasso is a five-seater hatchback model and again is an ideal family car. The Berlingo was meant as a replacement for the C15 and is a panel van.

Every model of the Citroen is a feat in itself and is highly original. For those who do not like their vehicle to be like every other car on the road, then perhaps a Citroen could be the right choice for them.

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