On this day in auto history – May 29th

Sat 29th May 2021

It was on this day in 1919 that the very first Citroen car, the Type A, went into production.

The company was founded a few months earlier by Paris-born Andre Citroen, a famed World War I weapons producer, whose aim was to mirror what Henry Ford was doing in America, building cheap, mass-produced reliable motors.

The Type A was billed as 'Europe’s first mass production car’ in a high-profile advertising campaign and, helped by a highly visible presence in a show room on the Champs-Elysées, it proved a major success, selling more than 25,000 vehicles in a two-year production run before it was succeeded by the Type B.

With Citroen forced to produce over 100 vehicles a day to meet demand, Andre Citroen soon picked up the moniker ‘Europe’s Henry Ford’, though his business acumen was sub-par and not helped by a personal addiction to high-stakes gambling.

Facing financial ruin in 1934, Citroen filed for bankruptcy in a move which saw its principal creditor, the tyre company Michelin, acquire a controlling interest in the company shortly before Andre Citroen was to die of stomach cancer.