Citroën is a French car company that was founded in 1919. Early Citroëns utilized the popular body-on-frame rear-wheel-drive design (the same design as the Ford Model T) that was common in this era. In the 1930s, Citroën introduced the Traction Avant, which uniquely featured front wheel drive, unibody construction and independent four wheel suspension.
The Citroën Traction Avant was a sales success, however the associated expenses for a complete factory retooling and higher marketing costs drove Citroën into its first bankruptcy. In 1948, Citroën launched the 2CV, an inexpensive and woefully underpowered (12 horsepower) car that looked like a praying mantis compared to VW’s Beetle. In 1955, Citroën released the legendary DS. The Citroën DS is often considered the most beautiful car of all time and featured a novel hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension system that fostered a smooth ride regardless of the terrain. The popularity of the DS as a camera car at horse tracks and other bumpy locations is a testament to the effectiveness of this design.
A couple of bankruptcies later, Citroën has been combined with PSA Peugeot and Dongfeng Motors in China. The modern Citroën lineup consists mainly of smaller hatchbacks and saloons and a more upscale DS lineup. Models such as the Citroën C4 Cactus have funky styling and side panels that resist dents, but most of Citroën’s current vehicles are decidedly mainstream.
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