The AX, ostensible replacement for the Visa , was launched at the Paris Salon in 1986 after six years of research into achieving class leading fuel economy which culminated in the ECO 2000 project.
Xavier Karcher promised at the AX's launch in August 1986 that it would not supercede the 2 CV while the latter continued to sell...
In the event, the Visa soldiered on until 1988 and the 2CV until 1990.
The AX was highly aerodynamic
with a Cx of only 0,31 which allowed the 1,0 litre model to achieve a
fuel consumption figure of less than 4 litres/100 km (better than 70
mpg) at a constant 90 kph (56 mph).
The AX was launched in six versions - 10E, 10 RE, 11 RE, 11 TRE, 14 TRS and 14 TZS, and one body style - a three door hatchback.
range was rapidly expanded within a matter of weeks to include the
limited edition AX Sport equipped with a twin carburettor, 95 bhp 1,3
litre engine and a top speed in excess of 185 kph (115 mph).
1987, the range was further expanded to include a new AX GT with 85
bhp, a lightly revised AX Sport and a range of five door cars.
In 1988, a new 1 360 cm3 diesel engine was made available in the 14 D, 14 RD and 14 TRD (or DTR in anglophone markets).
In 1989, the 14 TZS disappeared from the range and a new five door GT appeared.
1990, the range was rebadged to become 10E, 10 RE, 10 Tonic special
edition, 11 TGE, 11 TRS, 14 TRS, Sport, GT, 14 D, 14 RD, 14 TRD/DTR.
In 1991, the 14 TZX replaced the 14 TRS while the 14 RD became the 14 TGD.
1992, the AX Sport was replaced by the GTi with 100 bhp and 190 kph
(119 mph) top speed and a 4x4 version was introduced in some markets.
1993, the petrol versions were all equipped with new monopoint fuel
injection engines (with the exception of the GTi which retained its
multipoint engine) and the badging was altered yet again and a number
of special editions were launched.
Also in 1993, the GT was replaced by the AX Furio. Models were now defined by engine and trim level - X, SX and VSX.
The AX enjoyed great success in competition and proved very popular in the marketplace too.
In 1998, it was finally replaced by the Saxo although it continued to be built in Malaysia as the Proton Tiara.
Heuliez proposed this estate version (below)