Citroen etymology: Named after lemons? What does it mean?

Air suspension, FWD, the beautiful DS, these are all things we know about Andre Citroen’s car company, but did you know there’s a connection to lemons too?

Citroen was established by André-Gustave Citroën in 1919, and the brand carries his name until this day. Born to Jewish parents originally from Warsaw, Poland.

His grandfather was a greengrocer, specialising in tropical fruit, and took the surname Limoenman or lime man. Andre Citroën’s father changed his surname to Citroen as it was Dutch for lemon.

On arriving in France, the family’s surname was changed once again with the addition of a diaeresis to the e, supposedly at the suggestion of one Andre’s teachers.

Although Andre and his company were known for their engineering savvy, the development costs of the front-wheel drive unitary body Traction Avant bankrupted the company, and led to it being bought out by tyre maker Michelin.