History of Citroen
Andre Citroen first started to produce automobiles after World War One in a converted munitions factory in Paris' Quai de Jarval. In 1919 the Type A car was unveiled, becoming the first mass produced car in European history. The firm's flair for publicity meant that Citroen's name was emblazoned in lights on the Eiffel Tower between 1925-34.
Whilst Citroen found success in the early years with the likes of the B2 Tornado and Type C models, the company's prominent market position was largely down to its cheap selling price rather than any manufacturing brilliance. The Traction Avant soon remedied this with its revelatory ideas, however the cost of producing the model bankrupted Citroen, leading to the largest creditor Michelin taking over.
Unlike many car firms, Citroen continued their car development work in secret throughout the Second World War and although they made machinery for the Germans, the factories were ordered to go slow with workers sabotaging what they manufactured. In the post-war years the 2CV and DS models were produced, with features such as power steering, power brakes, directional headlights and disc brakes. The French public loved the critically acclaimed designs and stayed loyal to the brand, something which only truly dissipated in the mid-1990s.
Although the cars were popular, Citroen only staved off a second bankruptcy thanks to the French Government's intervention in the 1970s when they encouraged Peugeot to take a stake in the firm. Since then, Citroen's hallmark car designs have become ever more recognisable with the company finding success through models like the BX, Xsara and Xsara Picasso as well as the Berlingo and updated 'C' ranges.