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Citroën was created in 1919 by André-Gustave Citroën. Eight years later in 1927, Citroën was the largest car manufacturer in Europe and fourth in the world.
Although becoming a very successful car producer later, Citroën started by producing gear wheels which had chevron-shaped teeth, an idea he got when travelling to Poland where the technique was used in milling. The young André Citroën bought the rights to produce chevron-shaped gear wheels made of steel. The chevrons in the Citroën badge still refer to this first company and its products.
Citroen in history
During World War I, the Citroën company made the move from gear wheels to cars. From the very beginning, Citroën stood for innovation. In 1924 the company put the first all-steel-bodied cars in Europe on the road.
Ten years later, Citroën lived up to its reputation once more with the production of the Traction Avant, which was the world’s first mass-produced front-wheel drive car. In 1955 it also was Citroën which issued the first European car with disc brakes.
Besides having a reputation for innovation and revolutionary engineering, Citroën was an excellent marketer. For nearly a decade (1925 to 1934) Citroën was allowed to use the Eiffel Tower as a billboard. In addition, the company sponsored several expeditions across Africa to show its vehicles’ capacities. Since 1923 Citroën had a reputation to uphold in that area as well after having produced the first car to be driven 48 000 km across Australia with a 5CV Type C Torpedo.
In 1968 Citroën equipped its vehicles with swiveling headlights thereby assuring more visibility on winding roads.
Apart from using innovative technologies for their cars’ engine and suspension parts, Citroën was also one of the first to start using the aerodynamic designs which are very common today.
Citroën in sport
- From 1993 to 1997 Pierre Lartigue and Air Vatanen won the Rally Raid Manufacturer’s Championship with the Citroën ZX Rally Raid.
- In 1991, 1994, 1995 and 1996 Citroën won the Dakar Rally
- From 2004 to 2006 included Sébastien Loeb won the Drivers’ Championship with a Citroën Xsara WRC, the four consecutive years with a Citroën C4 WRC and in 2011 with the DS3 WRC.