Michelin, the tyre company that bought the automaker


There have been many car companies that have gone broke trying to introduce new technologies to the marketplace. Cord was a notable example, BMW with the 507 was saved by the Isetta and recently Porsche was saved from bankruptcy by VW. MG saved by China and Volvo likewise. And there is more when you look at the Great Depression of the early 30’s.

Another car company that has bounced from bankruptcy to bankruptcy is Citroen, introducing the Traction Avant model in 1934. A front wheel drive with independent front suspension and an arc-welded monocoque body.

Monocoque construction is almost universal these days, but in 1934 it was looked at with suspicion and it was considered that this type of construction lacked strength. To get over this, Citroen pushed a Traction Avant over a cliff to show that the body remained in one piece.

As the costs to produce the Traction Avant escalated, Citroen had to be bailed out by Michelin in the 1930’s, and the design of the Traction Avant continued until 1957. It could be ordered in two and four door variants.

Several engines could be used from 1.3 liters to 1.5, 1.6, 1.9 to a 2.8 straight six with the bigger engines able to propel the Traction Avant to around 115 km/h.

Financial problems have beset Citroen and they were selling vehicles in China since 1984 largely via the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën joint venture, which today represents a major market for the brand. In 2014, when PSA Peugeot Citroën ran into severe financial difficulties (again), the Dongfeng Motor Corporation took an ownership stake.