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André Citroën was born on February 5, 1878 in the family of a successful entrepreneur. His father was part owner of enterprises engaged in the processing and sale of precious stones. But not the father taught the tricks of Andre business. When the future of the automaker was only six years old, Levi Bernard Citroën committed suicide. However, he left his family a lot: a great legacy plus links to financial and industrial circles in Paris.
In those days the son continued his father's work usually. But Andre did not attract trade. In 1889 he enrolled at the Ecole Polytechnique and after its completion, at the age of twenty-three years old, started working in the workshops of his friends brothers Estaing, which produces parts for locomotives.
In 1905, Citroen was the companion Estaing, having enclosed in business all inheritance received from parents. He established a factory issue of gears (gears) - much more advanced ones that made competitors. Constructed of unknown Polish self-taught mechanic. A Citroen time saw that the new technology is very promising, and bought a patent for its use.
Very quickly, gear steel demand in the international market - in London, Brussels and even Moscow, which brought huge profits to owners of the company. Hence originates and company logo in the form of inverted letter «V», which schematically represent the bevel gears. In France, this logo is called the "double chevron".
Citroen is factory responsibilities of technical and commercial director, and soon he stopped to have a competition. The name of the young entrepreneur has become a legend, and helped him in 1908 to take the place of technical director on proven automobile plant Mogs.
Citroen, and developed a storm of activity here: attracted to the fresh minds, streamline design of cars produced and offered to reduce their prices. Success came immediately. Sales increased dramatically.
During the First World War Citroen again he proved his ability. He put his entrepreneurial talent at the service of a belligerent France and its business ambitions. Seeing how bad the French army was supplied with ammunition, he shall enter into negotiations with the Ministry of War and offers a three-month period to establish a large-scale production of shells. Army superiors project seems impossible. However, Citroen persuaded the government to enter into a contract with him.
Money for the construction of a new factory, he gathered fairly quickly: 20% of the advanced state of the transaction, the other missing funds were able to take a loan from friends industrialists and financiers.
And in a few months out of nowhere, at the Paris Javel quay, there are factories for mass production of weapons, which produce more shells than all other countries combined enterprise. Citroen himself explains his success with just one word: organization.
Even in the midst of fighting Andre Citroen ordered the engineers drawings of the car, which later received his name. And now, after the war, when the guns fell silent, he had everything to organize and deploy its own car production: experience, highly skilled team, industrial premises, where previously issued shells and huge financial resources earned from military contracts.
He once visited America, where Ford (Manuals PDF page) plants met with American methods of production cars, and in 1919, together with the designer Jules Salomon, creator of the success of the car which took Le Zebre, began to produce cars at a former arms factory on the waterfront Javel. He aspired to a daily production of 100 cars.
Unlike their European rivals, Citroen built on American manufacturing principle, starting with the release of a single model. At the time, its main purpose was to transform the car from inaccessible "curiosities" in a mass commodity.
Runabout offered to consumers at a low price, expenses as hot cakes. Gradually, the range has expanded, and for the first ten years of operation the company has increased release of cars almost 50 times. The first model was the type A (Citroën A) with an engine volume of 1.3 liters and output of 7.4 kW (10 hp), released in May 1919.
Andre Citroen was then 41 years old. On the day of one hundred units were produced that the then level of car production in France seemed unbelievable.
The secret of all of Andre Citroen deciphered at its plant such famous American cars like Buick, Nash, Studebaker, (PDF Manuals pages) and studied them possible methods of mass production. In fact, his Citroën and therefore also the first mass-produced car in Europe.
For four years, production reached three hundred cars a day. At that time, Citroën made a new car 5 CV, dubbed Trefle.
Citroen also the first to think about the possibilities of far-sighted advertising. The fact that in 1925 the company Citroën was issued more than 60 thousand cars, and in 1929 - almost 100 thousand.
These good results have allowed Citroën come out on top by the volume of production in France and then in Europe. But to produce the goods - that's not all. It still needs to sell. And to attract future consumers, Citroën has developed grandiose system advertise their cars and their own name, which has become the automotive brand. His firm has adjusted release of Toy "Citroen", in exactly the same great car for adults.
To the Citroen brand name plants it was constantly before the eyes of drivers throughout France were signposts and road signs, capped by a "double chevron".
For the sake of attracting potential customers were held so-called "promotional runs" in remote areas of France. Along the line of cars the specialists of the speakers talked about the features of a particular model Citroën.
The words were supported by flashy posters, banners, entertaining quizzes and lotteries that were organized during stops. As a result, from 3% to 15% of visitors to the exhibitions "on wheels" went home on their own cars.
Demonstration of goods Citroen general considers the best advertising. "Show - the most effective and least expensive means of advertising. None of the most intricate advertising methods can not be compared with the demonstration products. The impression from what he saw with his own eyes is much richer than that which is left a few lines in the newspaper, "- said the businessman.
Advertising Citroen had spared no expense. So, in 1929 he built a car shop, which serves as the solid facade glass case height of 21 meters and a width of 10 meters. Through this transparent wall, which took 19 tons of glass, it was possible from the street to see a lot of cars, arranged in six tiers. He then founded his own insurance company and established their own - yellow and blue - the road signs.
Somehow, hearing one English pilots, able to bring to the heavenly background with the help of letters left by plane white trail Citroen set about trying to paint the sky his own name.
The trick was performed: in the sky appeared chetyrёhsotmetrovye letters of the surname businessman stretching almost five kilometers. After a few minutes the inscription, for the manufacture of which were spent huge money vanished into thin air. But what effect!
The culmination of the quest avtopromyshlennikom advertising, supported by his personal vanity, was a project of "Eiffel Tower" in the fire. '" By installing the tower 125 thousand light bulbs, the company Citroen contemporaries gave an unforgettable show. One after another, the tower flashed ten image: silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, Star rain, flying comets, signs of the zodiac, the year of creation of the tower, the current year and, finally, the last name Citroen.
Andre Citroen was one of the first to believe in the international mission of the car and reinforce their faith participation in the most adventurous enterprises, such as a marathon race across the Sahara, or at least difficult of the rally on Asian.
On the model B2 capacity of 14.8 kW (20 hp) with half-track chassis for the first time managed to lead the way across the Sahara Desert, and model C4 - travel to Central Asia and, later, the Canadian Arctic.
And our customers Citroen sent gramophone recording advertise your car.
The economic crisis in the early 30s caused the decline of the activities of the Citroen. In 1933, Citroën decided to completely rebuild the plants on the quay Javel. Having spent a lot of money, he realized the reconstruction in record time - in just 5 months.
The company has a total area of 55 thousand sq. M was posted a giant continuous production line capacity of 1,000 vehicles a day. So much while consuming the entire French automobile market.
But mastered Citroen megalomania, eventually turned against him. The Achilles heel of the businessman has always been the financial side of things. He has always lived long, attracting huge investments for their risky projects. His need for money is constantly ahead of his financial capabilities.
Contribute risk had in 1934, at the decline of the global economic crisis. Lenders denied Citroen in new loans and a drop in demand for cars has deprived its ability to get out of its own funds.
After several attempts to find sources of funding for the Citroen was forced to declare bankruptcy. 60% of the shares of the company was then concern rubber Michelin. Citroen did not live up to the success of the new revolutionary project with front-wheel drive, a concept which the company has remained true to this day. He died in March 1935. His sudden death French newspapers for three reasons: "Mr. Citroen died of an incurable disease. It is possible that his departure from the accelerated life befell him financial hardship. Perhaps this played a role in the death of his daughter and ".
However, the fact that the businessman did for 20 years, forever immortalized his name. It still adorns the cars sold under one of the most famous brands. "If the idea is good, the price does not matter," - said Andre Citroen.
A lot of achievements and victories in the history of Citroën and its famous models. But words can not erase songs - almost 50 years after the triumph of the automobile companies add Citroën had to go through a period of decline and annoying.
Older people who are interested in cars, will remember the days when the first place among French carmakers is held Citroën. Peugeot and Renault was not given to overtake the brand, but it was given to rise above the commonplace of traditional models. Citroën same for their cars did not skimp on any advanced technology or the original design. It was a truly decent cars.
At that time, by the way, none of the French presidents could not come to mind the idea - to go to something else, except for models Citroën DS and SM.
But most did not bring revenue extravagance. By the mid-70s on the background of the original oil crisis, but consume a lot of fuel Citroën models sold steel bad; and the company had to "be like everyone else", permanently losing the image of a bold innovator.
In 1974, a purely pragmatic considerations were the reason for its association with Peugeot (Manuals PDF page). Thanks to this alliance Citroën, of course, to save his life, but is almost completely lost their individuality.
Only at the beginning of the 90s, when the automobile world returned to fashion originality, Citroën, one of the founders of the original and extravagant style, boldly rushed into the fray.
Crucially the situation changed in 1997 with the advent of the post of general director of the group, Jean-Martin Folz, which decided to "improve" the financial side of the company, directing all their efforts on creative design activities to make the maximum number of differences two vehicles submitted concern marks. For Citroën similar decision was indeed the beginning of the revival.
In recent years the model range of cars Citroën fully refreshed. Absolutely all models have a new stylish design and advanced technical features, enabling Citroën to achieve a constant concern and a dynamic sales growth: 52% in the last five years!
In 2000, Citroën has surpassed its own record sales for its history, selling over 1 million vehicles. And this is not the limit, because the dynamic growth rates of sales and now preserved in spite of the fact that global demand for automobiles in recent years is constantly decreasing.
Forbes magazine has named the head of the group PSA Jean-matrine businessman Foltz 2001, noting its ability to properly prioritize the time to restore the profitability of the company and bring its profitability at high levels. In 2002, more than 1,312,000 customers sat behind the wheel of the new car with the "double chevron".