We are proud to start with André Citroën's Dutch roots: his father Levie Citroen (still without dots) was a diamond trader in Amsterdam and moved to Paris in 1873 with his wife. André was born five years later. Could the Dutch merchant spirit still have been in his genes?
During a visit to Poland in 1905, André Citroën saw how flour is ground using two wooden gears. They had a V-shaped tread, while straight teeth were still common at that time. André saw the advantages of the V-shape and bought the patent. When he graduated, he founded a company that started producing gears.
André Citroën, like Henry Ford in America, was fascinated by mass production. In the service of the French army during the First World War, he set up a complete mortar shell factory in 18 months. 24 million units were produced until the end of the war.
The Citroën car brand was not founded until 1919. From the beginning, the two gears, with which André's career started, form the logo. Until 1985, yellow was the club color of Citroën, against a blue background. Between 1932 and 1935, a swan temporarily appeared and swam in front of the logo. That stood for the floating motor, the floating (literally floating) engine.
Nowadays you hear the word brand identity over and over again, but André Citroën already realized how important that was a hundred years ago. He came up with many ways to draw attention to his brand. In 1925, for example, the Eiffel Tower was illuminated in large Citroën letters. The first car advertisement in a magazine was from Citroën, later he focused on women in advertisements. Wanting to introduce children to his products as early as possible, André had toy cars made from the Citroën 5HP. That too was new then.
In the 1930s, the logo was given a prominent place on the grille of Citroën models. With the Traction Avant and the first 2CV, even if you urgently need to go to the optician, you cannot miss the logo. André Citroën died in 1935.
Curiously, the logo had completely disappeared in the 1950s on the most famous of all Citroëns, the DS. The SM (1970) also had to do without logos. Two subtle changes did take place in those years: in 1959 two yellow logos protruded from a white oval background. Seven years later, the double chevrons fit neatly into the background and the word Citroën was written in capitals underneath.
In 1985 the logo is completely overhauled with the introduction of the BX Sport: white chevrons, red background. In 2009 it is again hit: the chevrons become silvery and get a rounder shape. Seven years later, this logo is slightly updated: the three-dimensional touch disappears.
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