Citroen – All Car History Volume 18

CITROEN is a pioneering car manufacturer, with a long line of original, advanced designs and a tradition of engineering excellence and innovation. The world’s first front-wheel drive car, the Traction Avant, was thanks to CITROEN. Perhaps the company’s most recognised car of all time is the 2CV, which came to be regarded as an automotive icon.

CITROEN’s current crop includes the C1, C2, C3, C4, C4 Picasso and Xsara Picasso, with new models such as the C6, which replaced the XM.


In 1914, André CITROEN set up a company that made munitions for the war. This venture proved to be a success, and by the 1920s the company became known as CITROEN.

The company shocked the world in 1934 with the Traction Avant, a revolutionary car with features such as front wheel drive. In 1934, CITROEN was taken over by Michelin tyre company and in 1976, CITROEN became part of PSA Peugeot CITROEN.


  • Type: Subsidiary of PSA Peugeot CITROEN
  • Founded: 1919
  • Headquarters: Paris, France
  • Industry: Automotive
  • Products: Cars


  • Citroen C2 – the first CITROEN with a Stop & Start environmental system, and five speed semi-automatic transmission.
  • Citroen C3 – a larger family friendly car, the C3 has five doors and is a “supermini” intended to replace the Citroen Saxo.
  • Citroen C4 – a small family car produced since 2004. The C4 was designed to be the successor to the Citroen Xsara.
  • Citroen C5 – a large family car produced since early 2001. The C5 replaced the Citroen Xantia in the large family car class.
  • Citroen SAXO – a supermini manufactured from 1996 to 2003.
  • Citroen XSARA – a small family car produced since 1997 in five-door estate, three- and five-door hatchback styles.
  • Citroen XSARA PICASSO – an MPV produced since 1999.


  • The 2CV was affectionately known as “The Duck”. Citroen realised that there was an urgent need for a cheap and reliable car, and first introduced the 2CV to the public in 1938. Because of WWII, the production started in 1948. Since the car was such a success the production continued for over 40 years. The design underwent only a few minor changes in all those years.
  • At the 1950 Paris Motor Show, the 2CV van was introduced. Between February 1951 and March 1978, 1,246,306 2CV vans were made. Demand was so great that there was a six-year waiting list for delivery in the 1950s.
  • Citroen held the constructor title in the World Rally Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
  • In 2000, Citroen built a heritage centre in Aulnay, Paris. These premises of 6,700 m2, house almost 300 vintage cars and concept cars, but are not open to the public.
  • The Citroen won the bronze lion award at the Advertising film festival at Cannes in 2005. This was for the Citroen C4 film “The Dancer”.