Home CitroŽnŽt home

Site search powered by FreeFind
Do NOT include 'Citroen' in your search terms

CitroŽn in Belgium


Place d'Yser Brussels CitroŽn Belgium

The Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn S.A. was formed on 31st January 1924 and was the second such enterprise to be set up by Andrť CitroŽn (the first being the factory at Slough in England). Its registered office was at rue de l'Amazonie, 47-51 at Saint-Gilles where the offices and factory occupied an area of 2 500 m2 but the massive increase in production and sales in Belgium soon meant that the company was obliged to seek larger premises. In 1926, the company set up a new factory in Forest/Vorst with an area of 6 632 m2 and this was followed by the establishment of a huge showroom in bvd. Adolphe Max and another in rue Emile Claus. In 1934, the company moved its administration, sales, after sales and technical development operations to a 16 500 m2 complex at Place de l'Yser/Ijzerplein alongside the Brussels - Antwerp Canal in the centre of Brussels. Designed by Alexis Dumont (1877-1962), the building was the architectural expression of the avant-garde techniques employed by CitroŽn and is still uded as the HQ of CitroŽn Belux
Between 1924 and 1940, more than 30 000 vehicles had been sold on the Belgian market. In 1940, the company was evicted from its premises at the Place d'Yser by the occupying German forces who remained there until 1944. The premises were badly damaged by the blowing up of a nearby bridge and were left largely unrepaired for six years.
During the occupation, the Forest factory became the registered office of the company and ceased all manufacturing, confining itself to the repair of vehicles and conversion to "Gazogene" and acetylene fuel.
On 11th and 12th May 1944, the factory was bombed by Allied aircraft resulting in the almost total destruction of the paint shop.
British forces requisitioned the factory and its assets but despite this, in 1944 and 1945, the factory was repaired and in 1946, production re-commenced with 1 536 vehicles being built in 1946, 4 098 in 1947 and 4 955 in 1948.
Partial rebuilding of the Place d'Yser premises meant that the administration returned there in 1947 but it was 1959 before all the damage was fully repaired.
The Forest factory built most of the models that were built in Paris including the 5CV, B12, B14, Traction Avant, DS, 2CV, Dyane, Mťhari, GS, LNA and Visa, as well as Panhards - although adapted to local market and legal conditions. A good proportion of production was exported to Luxembourg and the Netherlands as well as to the remnants of Belgium's African empire. From 1970, the factory specialised in making 2CV and 3CV camionettes.
Annual production dropped from a peak of 73 175 in 1972 to 38 222 in 1980 and between 1948 and the factory's closure in 1980, a total of 1 074 661 vehicles were built there.

Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn
Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn

Production of the 2CV in Forest began in 1952 and by 1954, the Belgian affiliate was producing specific models for the Belgian market - the 2CV AL replaced the 2CV Type A. Fitted with the 425 cm3 engine, the AL became the AZL. Readily distinguishable from the AZ, it was fitted with "paperclip" front bumper overriders, a chromed strip running down the bonnet and more chrome around the door and window surrounds, wheel embellishers and indicator lights fitted to the C pillars.

Below as early as 1957, the Belgian factory offered a "top of the range" version of the 2CV, the AZL3 or 2CV Limousine. Based on the mechanics of the 2CV AZL, it was fitted with a six light body (in France, customers had to wait until 1965 for this innovation).

CitroŽn Belgium 2CV AZL3 Limousine
CitroŽn Belgium 2CV AZL3 Limousine
Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn
Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn
Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn
Sociťtť Belge des Automobiles CitroŽn
CitroŽn 2CV Forest
CitroŽn Belgium 2CV AZL3 Limousine

In 1959, the AZL3 acquired different rear wings from those fitted to all other berlines (apart from the Sahara, the wings of which were different yet again).
The spare wheel was housed under the boot floor and was accessed via a hinged valence that was fitted with the registration number plate and tail lights.