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A BRIEF HISTORY OF CITROňN Part Two

All this cost money and in 1934, CitroŽn's biggest creditor Michelin, at the request of the French government, acquired control of the company.  Andrť CitroŽn was removed from the post of Chairman and was replaced by Pierre Michelin who was in turn was replaced by Pierre Boulanger in 1938.  The outbreak of war meant that officially all research and development ceased; in reality it continued and the fruits were displayed in 1948 with the presentation of the 2CV.

In the aftermath of World War 2, production of cars was slow to re-start because the view of most governments of the day was that automobile production diverted resources from more essential needs.  When the green light was eventually given, most manufacturers were obliged to export the majority of their products since this was a way of earning foreign currency.  Coupled with this was a policy of restricting imports wherever possible – usually by the imposition of swingeing import taxes.  All this meant that new cars were few and far between on the roads of Europe and furthermore, foreign products were rendered uncompetitive.

In December 1950, Pierre Boulanger was killed at the wheel of an experimental Traction and Robert Puisseux became  Prťsident-Directeur Gťnťral of Michelin and Chairman of CitroŽn.  Puiseux oversaw the introduction of the DS in 1955.  CitroŽn and Panhard entered into an agreement to partially merge their sales networks and in 1965, CitroŽn took control of Panhard's factory in Rheims.

Pierre Bercot was appointed Chairman-Managing Director in 1958 and in 1968 he became Chairman and Managing Director of CitroŽn SA.  Under Bercot, the company launched the Ami 6, built a new, state of the art factory in Rennes in Brittany and acquired a majority share holding in truck-makers Berliet.  The company also entered into agreements with NSU to build Wankel rotary engines and with Peugeot although the latter arrangement fell apart when Peugeot entered into an agreement with arch rivals Renault in 1964.  Bercot then entered into an agreement with Fiat (forming a new holding company, PARDEVI owned 51% by Michelin and 49% by Fiat) whereby CitroŽn dealers sold the Autobianchi range in France and Belgium and CitroŽns were sold via the Fiat network in Italy.  In 1968, the company was re-organised with the setting up of a parent company called CitroŽn SA to oversee the activities of CitroŽn, Panhard and Berliet.  The company signed an agreement with Maserati in the same year.

Claude Alain Sarre became Chairman and Managing Director of Automobiles CitroŽn in 1968 and oversaw the building of another new factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois and the launch of the SM and GS.

In 1971, FranÁois Rollier was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of CitroŽn SA and Raymond Ravenel became Managing Director of Automobiles CitroŽn.


CitroŽn's Traction Avant 11 CV was the mainstay of the range from the time production recommenced after the war until 1957.

CitroŽn's Traction Avant 15 CV was the haut de gamme model until the launch of the DS 19 in 1955.

CitroŽn's 2 CV went on sale in 1949 and production continued until 1990.

The DS19 launched in 1955 replaced the ageing Traction Avant in CitroŽn's range.

The ID19 was a simplified DS and replaced the Traction Avant 11 CV.

The Ami 6, launched in 1961 was an attempt to compete in the mid range market.

Like the Ami 6, the Dyane, launched in 1968, was based on the 2 CV.

The Ami 8 replaced the Ami 6 but retained the 2 CV's mechanical bits.

CitroŽn's first foray into the highly competitive mid-market sector was the techologically dense GS, launched in 1970.