André Citroën – the story behind the engineer who founded an auto empire
André Citroën was a French industrialist known to the world thanks to the car bearing his name. Few people know Andre-Gustave was born in 1878 in Paris in a large family, being the fifth child. His father, Levie Citroen, was a Dutch diamond salesman, and his mother was Amelia MaSz Kleinman writes Business Magazin.
The Citroën comes from “Limoenman” which in Dutch means “man with limes”, then changed into Citron (lemon), then when the family moved to Paris in 1873 the name underwent a new transformation: Citron became Citroën.
Few people know André Citroën was fascinated by Jules Verne’s novels and the construction of the Eiffel Tower made him want to become an engineer. André graduated Ecole Polytechnique in 1898, then worked as an engineer and industrial designer. After graduation he visited Poland, the birthplace of his mother, who died recently. In that journey, André Citroën discovered a gear cutting process in the form of “V”, foresaw many possible uses and bought the patent process.
In 1908 he was employed by Mors cars and managed to increase its production from 125 to 1,200 cars per year. At age 24 he founded his first company at the Société des Engrenages Citroën (company gears), which transformed after World War I in a building cars company. Citroën first car rolled off the assembly line in 1919. Over the years he built several factories in France, and in 1932 Citroen became the fourth automobile manufacturer in the world in size.
Besides that he brought mass production of vehicles in Europe, Citroën has created a network of offices where he was offering after-sales service, but also implemented several road signs in the French infrastructure. Few people know Traction Avant car costs for development, which, ironically, will increase their sales, led to the bankruptcy of Citroën in 1934. The company was taken over by main creditor, Michelin, then reorganized in 1935.
André Citroën remained in history because he brought ways to reduce costs and production time in the European automotive industry.
The car introduced in 1919 has become the European version of the Ford T, making the car accessible to the common man. Another successful model is the company’s TA 7, the first popular front-wheel drive car. André Citroën suffered from stomach cancer and died in 1935. Hoping you found out something new, you can look for some more information by clicking here. Be curious! Be smart!