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Citroën celebrates 100 years in Switzerland

The logo for 100 years of Citroën in Switzerland

In 2024, Citroën will celebrate a century of history in Switzerland, an important milestone that will be enthusiastically celebrated by car enthusiasts and fans of the brand. It all began on 24 September 1924, when the first Citroën subsidiary opened its doors in Geneva, a landmark event that laid the foundations for a rich and innovative history.

A bold vision

The story of Citroën is inextricably linked to that of its founder, André Gustave Citroën. Born in Paris on 5 February 1878, the son of a Dutch diamond merchant father and a Polish mother, André Citroën demonstrated his visionary spirit from an early age. In 1902, he founded a gear manufacturing company and entered the automobile industry at the end of the First World War. On 4 July 1919, he unveiled the Citroën Type A, Europe's first mass-produced car, heralding a new era in the automotive industry.

Citroën in Switzerland: a history of innovation

The first Swiss branch, the "Société Anonyme pour la Vente en Suisse des Automobiles André Citroën", was established at 3 rue du Mont-Blanc in Geneva. This strategic location, in the heart of one of the city's most prestigious streets, reflects the brand's ambitions. The facilities include offices, showrooms, a state-of-the-art repair workshop and even a hydraulic lift to access the basement workshops.

The inauguration was followed by a sumptuous banquet at the Hôtel des Bergues, underlining the importance of the event. In 1925, Citroën strengthened its presence in German-speaking Switzerland by opening a branch in Zurich, thus reinforcing its network and visibility.

A brand synonymous with excellence

Over the decades, Citroën has stood out for its technological innovations and iconic models. The Traction Avant, the 2CV, the DS, the SM sports coupé and, more recently, the ë-C3 electric car are all examples of the brand's commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and technology. In Switzerland, such is the popularity of these models that the country has around 15,000 classic cars spread across some forty dedicated clubs.

During the Second World War, Citroën was able to keep its cars in production, despite the difficulties of importing them, thanks to the ingenuity of its teams and the quality of local skills. After the war, the brand quickly resumed its activities and continued to innovate.

Continued expansion

The 1960s and 1970s saw a significant expansion of Citroën's infrastructure in Switzerland. In 1962, a new commercial complex was inaugurated on the Route des Acacias in Geneva, followed by a new showroom in 1973. Despite a devastating fire in the same year, the facilities were quickly rebuilt and modernised.

In 1974, Citroën employed 250 people in Switzerland, with 190 technicians servicing 58,000 vehicles. The dealer network gradually expanded, reaching some 200 dealers by the end of the 1990s. Long-term partnerships, such as those with Auto Leisibach in Hitzkirch and Garage Brändli AG in Grenchen, demonstrate loyalty and trust in the brand.

In 2019, the Emil Frey Group will assume responsibility for importing Citroën cars into Switzerland, consolidating the brand's presence and influence in the country.

Citroën is celebrating its centenary in Switzerland with justifiable pride. Since its beginnings in Geneva in 1924, the brand has captured the hearts of the Swiss with its innovations, its emblematic models and its ability to adapt and evolve. With this centenary, Citroën is paying homage to a rich history while looking resolutely to the future of the automobile. For Citroën enthusiasts and car lovers in general, this celebration is an opportunity to relive and rediscover an exceptional automotive adventure.

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