Originally a mass-market car maker with relatively straight-forward designs, CitroŽn shocked the world in 1934 with the innovative Traction Avant (1934-1956) and until the late 1980s had a reputation for approaching auto design in a unique way. Later significant models include the H Van (1947-1981, aka HY), 2CV (1948-1990, aka Duck), DS (1955-1975, aka Goddess) and CX (1974-1989).
In 1928 CitroŽn introduced the CitroŽn C4 nicknamed "Rosalie" which featured the first all-steel body in Europe. To produce the car CitroŽn acquired huge expensive machines from Chrysler. In the beginning the car was successful, but soon the competitors (who still used wood-structure for their bodies) introduced aerodynamic body designs on their cars. CitroŽn had no way to redesign the body of the Rosalie and the car was perceived as old-fashioned. Despite his body style the Rosalie was sold in large quantities, but the low price was the main selling point and CitroŽn experienced heavy losses. That decided Andrť CitroŽn to develop the Traction Avant, a car so innovative that the competition would have no response. Achieving quick development of the Traction Avant was of course expensive and contributed to ruin the financial health of the company.
In 1934 debts meant the company could not continue as it had; it was taken over by its biggest creditor, the tyre company Michelin. In 1967 CitroŽn took control of Maserati, the Italian sportscar maker and launched the sportscar/Grand Tourer SM, which contained a V6 Maserati engine. This was unfortunately timed, with the impending oil crisis making GT manufacture an unprofitable business. In 1974 Peugeot bought a 30% share of the weakened company, completely taking over CitroŽn in 1976.
The company's "double chevron" logo derives from Andrť CitroŽn's early business in gear-cutting.