Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
n the beginning of the ’80s, Citroen needed a car to compete in the European compact class.
In time, its dimensions downgraded the car into the small class. But in 1985 it was in the same dimensional league with the Golf.
The Citroen Axel was created to replace the Ami, which was launched in 1961 and it was already old. Its design was not suitable anymore for a market that discovered the hatchback bodywork and its advantages, from the Renault 16. The first generation of the VW Golf appeared in the ’70s.
The Axel was a joint program developed by Citroen and the Romanian Communist government. The car was based on the Citroen Visa and according to the project the French company should help and build a factory in Romania (Eastern Europe). With all said and done, the car production started in 1985 in Craiova and it was exported as a 3- and 5-door variant in some Western countries. The deal was to have the car produced for the Romanian and East European market in 3-door only.
The interior had room for five passengers and an average-sized trunk. Its only options were the rear window wiper, the radio-cassette player, and a sun-visor for the passenger.
The technical platform was developed by PSA and it featured a flat-four engine for the Western markets. The 4-speed manual gearbox was the only available. The brake-discs were on top of the drive-shafts, next to the gearbox. As modern technology, it featured an electronic ignition. The joint-venture lasted until 1989, but the 3-door version was produced a few more years for the Romanian market only.