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The English CitroŽns


A CitroŽn company, the CitroŽn Gear Company was set up in England before the First World War and marketed heavy industrial gearing. In 1919, the CitroŽn factory in France exported 750 cars to Britain where they were sold in the London area by the CitroŽn concessionaire, Gaston Limited. By the end of 1921, the company had sold a total of 2 451 vehicles. By 1923, there were over 23 000 CitroŽns on British roads. Gastons found this level of business difficult to service so in 1923, CitroŽn Cars Limited was set up in London with its headquarters in the CitroŽn Building, Brook Green, Hammersmith to take over the import and distribution of CitroŽn vehicles throughout the country.

The rising demand for the vehicles and the imposition of the McKenna Duties on imported vehicles led Andrť CitroŽn to set up an assembly plant to manufacture cars for the British domestic and Empire (later Commonwealth) markets where right hand drive cars were the norm. The CitroŽn factory, in the Slough Trading Estate was opened on 18th February 1926 and was to continue building cars until 1965 when the operation became dedicated to sales and marketing.

Not only were the cars built with right hand drive steering, they were frequently renamed and equipped with extras not fitted to the domestic market vehicles. 

One of the rarest of all production CitroŽns was the Slough-built, 2 CV-based Bijou.

CitroŽn's London HQ in Hammersmith
CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

Andrť CitroŽn visits the Slough assembly plant above and below

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough
CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough
CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough
CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough
CitroŽn's London HQ in Hammersmith

Exterior and interior views of CitroŽn's London HQ at Brook Green, Hammersmith left and above

CitroŽn's London HQ in Hammersmith

The delivery platform at Hammersmith above and below vehicles awaiting collection at Slough

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough
CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

Pictures taken inside the Slough factory above and below

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

Left chassis awaiting fitting of the body

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

Above the machine shop left the body is wheeled into the spray shop, below the body is lowered on to the chassis

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

Left the vehicles are almost complete

THE AUTOCAR, February 19th, 1926


HOME-PRODUCED FOREIGN CARS.

McKenna Duties Lead to Plans for Manufacturing Continental Products in this Country on a Large Scale.

AFTER the reimposition of the McKenna Duties, it was evident that the manufacturers of the most popular Continental products would arrange to assemble cars in special works in this country. The advantage of this practice to this country in general is obvious, owing to the large number of British hands who would find employment.

CitroŽn factory in Slough

The CitroŽn venture at Slough, for example, is a very good instance in the case. There are at the present moment two shops, one of 300,000 square. feet floor space, the other of 200,000 square feet, the former, therefore, being one of the largest shops in the British Isles. There are 60 acres of ground, which can be used for further development. The very latest pattern of moving platform or chain conveyor has been erected in the shops and is used for assembling the various types of CitroŽn, the parts, of course, being supplied from the CitroŽn factory in Paris. The whole of the bodywork is also assembled at this shop,and steps are being taken to manufacture the all~steel saloon which was exhibited at the last Olympia Show, where it created considerable interest.

Special Plant for Quick Assembly.
There are special ovens for the painting system, and compressed air plant of a design later even than that used for the principal factories in America has been installed to run the drills and mechanical spanners used in the assembly shop. The components, of course, are erected separately and fitted to the chassis as it proceeds slowly on the conveyor, the bare frame being put on, as it were, at one end, the finished car running off the conveyor at the other. There is a new and very elaborate system for nickel-plating various parts of the car, and it is interesting to note that a plant has been installed for dealing with the plate glass used for windscreens and windows. Into the works runs a siding from the main Great Western line, so that material can be received, and chassis sent away, without interruption.

The works are not yet running at full capacity, but when complete will find employment for about 5,000 operatives. At the present moment the latest type of 11.4 h.p. CitroŽn chassis is being erected, this ,having appeared at the Brussels Show; and, of course, in France. The principal difference between the latest model and its predecessors is the provision of front wheel brakes operating in conjunction‘,with the brakes on the rear axle, and of special design, with the cam actuating shaft and cam at the lowest point of the brake drum. Dumb-irons and half-elliptic springs have replaced the abbreviated frame quarter-elliptics hitherto used.

Another Continental firm producing well-known and popular cars for the British market is getting ready to develop an assembly plant of considerable size, while the Michelin Tyre Company, as has already been announced in our columns, are preparing to organise a large factory at Stoke-on-Trent for the purpose of manufacturing tyres for the British market.

CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough CitroŽn's new HQ & factory in Slough

McKenna Duties
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Reginald McKenna in Asquith's coalition government introduced in September 1915 a 33.3% levy on luxury imports (excluding commercial vehicles which were required for the war effort) in order to fund the war costs. These levies were known as the McKenna Duties, and lasted for 41 years until 1956. They they were waived between August 1924 and June 1925, and in September 1926 they were extended to cover commercial vehicles.

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