Out of the handful car manufacturers that exist in the world, France has contributed its bit to the automobile industry with automobile manufacturers that have excelled in almost all spheres. This year one such French auto manufacturer, Citroën has completed 100 years since its inception and we bring you some of the highlights from its century-long history.
ICONIC CARS MANUFACTURED BY CITROËN
TYPE A – CITROËN FIRST EVER CAR
The Type A 10 HP was designed by the founder himself, André Citroën and it was so exceptional that for those times it had a claimed fuel economy of approximately 13kmpl. One more feature that made the Type A impressive was its rear suspension design which made the ride comfortable also it was so light that it weighed 810 kilograms. Later, with the advent flourish of the Type A, the B2 was launched and newer models like the B10, B12, and B14 were introduced.
IN 1925, THE EIFFEL TOWER WAS LIT UP WITH CITROËN’S NAME ON IT IN HUGE LETTERS. WHAT A WAY TO INTERACT WITH THE PEOPLE OF PARIS.
LITTLE RECORD-BREAKING ROSALIE(1933)
One of the records that Rosalie held was for covering 300,000 km around the Montlhéry racing track that continued for 134 days straight by maintaining an average speed of 93 km/h throughout. Thus, stuck the name ‘Petite Rosalie des Records’.
It was to be the last brilliant machine of André Citroën’s lifetime. Lower and more aerodynamic than any other contemporary car, it was designed by Flaminio Bertoni and engineered by André Lefebvre. The Traction Avant was a front wheel drive car which also was the first mass-produced monocoque or unitary body car featuring an independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes. After long years of production, in 1957 its production was ended but in all these years Citroën had managed to build 760,000 units.
C10 – AN AERO INSPIRED CONCEPT CAR
Taking design cues from the aeronautics and putting all the automobile capabilities of weight, power, efficiency, and handling into perspective, the C10 was conceptualised. The C10 weighed 382 kilograms with a top speed of 100 km/h and seating capacity of 3 average individuals. This audacious and advanced design almost went into production, but the project that led to the Ami 6 was chosen instead.
At the 1980 Paris Motor Show, a truly bold concept car with sweeping pyramidal form in the name of Karin was introduced by Citroën as its concept car. The driver’s seat was positioned centrally and slightly further forward than the two passengers, and all main controls were close to the steering wheel, which was adjustable and had the feel of a joystick. One tech-driven feature was an onboard computer that would permanently display vital road information. This was no static display vehicle, as it had a 4-cylinder engine and hydropneumatic suspension.
ZX RALLY RAID CHAMPIONSHIP – CITROËN WON 5 TIMES!
Citroën’s ZX Rallye Raid car driven by Pierre Lartigue and Michel Périn honoured the team of 1922 by winning the formidable 16,054 km race. Here was the moment when Citroën truly reconnected with its great rally raid heritage and beat all competitors, in a test like no other. The pair also won the famous Paris-Dakar 3 times between 1994 and 1996. And from 1993 at the FIA World Rally Championship cross country events the ZX Rallye won five years in a row
XSARA KIT CAR
Meanwhile after the withdrawal of the ZX Rallye Raid car, in the French Rally Championship, the XSARA Kit Car driven by Philippe Bugalski won the 1998 and 1999 drivers’ titles in the French rally championship and also succeeded in Catalunya and Corsica at the world championship.\
Citroën is one of the French brands that instantly made a mark in the World Rally Championship by winning eight Constructor titles driven by one of the most successful Rally Drivers of all time, the Frenchman who is popularly known as Le Patron, or ‘The Boss’, Sébastien Loeb. Becoming the second highest team in the history of World Rally Championship and establishing a name for itself.
GT BY CITROËN
Driving simulation video game developer Gran Turismo 5 and Citroën collaborated to develop the sleek and muscular looking concept car, GTbyCitroën. Focusing on its racing potential it had large air intakes and rear spoiler, carbon door mirrors, blue LED headlights, and gullwing doors which added up to its sporty appeal. Also, one technology-driven feature was the head-up display that enabled the driver to concentrate on the road.
C-ELYSEE WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Citroën wasn’t done dominating the Rallying scene and wanted to make a mark in the World Touring Car Championships so they created a C-Elysée with a 380bhp engine, 6-speed sequential gearbox and 18-inch wheels. The car racked up wins almost immediately and won the Manufacturer World Championship three years in a row between 2014 and 2016. There were also three first places in the Driver World Championship for José Maria Lopez, Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller in 2014 and 2015.
INDIA BOUND IN 2020
Groupe PSA recently announced that it would be foraying into the Indian market and would introduce Citroën C5 Aircross as their first product for the Indian consumer. In addition to this announcement, the company also spoke about its India plans that included the introduction of a new model every year post-2020. In a Joint Venture with the CK Birla Group, Groupe PSA and its Indian counterpart will locally develop and manufacture platforms, powertrains and products at their production facility in Chennai. Citroën also showcased its first product a premium SUV, the C5 Aircross that would be making its way into the country sometime next year.