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Les CitroŽn du monde

By Gilles Colbec and Jean-FranÁois Ruchaud

ISBN : 2-7268-9455-0

Published by ETAI


Every once in a while, one comes across a book or a work of art or a piece of music and wishes one had been responsible for its genesis.  This book is one I wish I had written since it deals with a subject that majors on this website.   The topic is CitroŽns built and sold outside France.
Nowadays it is not unusual for motor manufacturing to be a global affair with factories dotted all over the world, serving all markets.  It was not always so.  When Andrť CitroŽn set up his car manufacturing business in France, he quickly realised that if he wanted to sell his products in foreign markets, those products needed to be tailored to the differing tastes of these foreign clients.  The fiscal barriers that went up in the aftermath of the First World War made it difficult to compete with domestic products so he made the decision to build factories in other countries, which meant that his cars, qualified as domestic products.  The CitroŽn factory at Slough was his first such foreign venture.  Such a vision was revolutionary in the 1920s.
This book is laid out by continent with 40 sections dealing with individual countries.  Given the limited number of pages and the extensive illustrations; many of which are hitherto unpublished, one might be forgiven for thinking that this book must deal with its subject matter in a superficial manner and while it is true that some information is somewhat brief, other topics are dealt with in great depth and detail.  In part this is likely to be more a question of information not being available rather than a desire to gloss over things.
Up until now, the only books dealing with this topic have been written by John Reynolds and these have concentrated on individual models like the D series and the A series.  “Les CitroŽn du monde” attempts to cover every model built or sold by CitroŽn outside France and is, on the whole, very successful.  There is also some astute analysis of the changes in business strategy brought about as a result of the Single Market EU (which is timely given the recent announcement that Peugeot-CitroŽn is closing its UK plant at Ryton; preferring instead to build cars in the Czech Republic).
Criticisms?  The story of CitroŽn in the USA covers the period after CitroŽn withdrew from the North American market – in other words it only covers the CINA/CXA period and ignores the Americanised A series cars – although the D does get a mention and a picture.  And for those monoglots among you, the “Language of Angels” will probably leave you looking at the pictures and wishing you had paid attention in your French classes.  I have suggested to the authors that an English version would widen its appeal and that enthusiasm for the marque is as global as the book’s subject matter.  For those of you who do speak and read French, go and get yourself a copy – you won’t regret it.  Strongly recommended.


© 2006 Julian Marsh