Citroën Axel

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Citroën Axel 12 TRS
Axel Grey-Side.jpg
Also calledOltcit Club, Daewoo Oltena
Production1984–1988, 1989-1996
AssemblyCraiova, Romania
Body and chassis
ClassSupermini (B)
Body style3-door hatchback
LayoutFF layout
Wheelbase2,370 mm (93 in)
Length3,732 mm (146.9 in)
Width1,538 mm (60.6 in)
Height1,430 mm (56.3 in)
Curb weight875 kg (1,929 lb)
PredecessorCitroën Ami
Citroën Dyane
SuccessorCitroën AX

The Citroën Axel was a supermini produced between 1984 and 1988 and developed in co-operation by Citroën of France and Oltcit, a joint venture company with the Romanian government.

The Axel was a rebadged version of the small Oltcit Club hatchback. Three specifications were available: Axel 11, Axel 11R and Axel 12 TRS. They were powered by the air-cooled engines from the Citroën GS/GSA; the air-cooled flat-twin engine from the Citroën Visa used in the Romanian-market Oltcit Special was not installed in the export-only Citroën Axel.

The five-door Citroën Visa and the three-door Axel look very similar, but there is no part interchangeable between these two Citroën models.

In 1994 Daewoo came in and with a slight restyling it was in production as Daewoo Oltena until 1996.[1]

Development history[edit]

From 1965 Robert Opron worked on the Citroën G-mini prototype and project EN101, a projected replacement for the 2CV using that car's flat twin engine. It was supposed to be launched in 1970. The advanced space-efficient designs, with very compact exterior dimensions and an aerodynamic drag co-efficient Cd of 0.32, were axed because of adverse feedback from potential clients.[2] The more conservative final design has a Cd of 0.36 (for the Axel 12 TRS, 0.37 for the Axel 11).[3]

Citroën Axel 11

The early seventies Citroën Prototype Y, intended to replace the 2CV-based Citroën Ami which dated back to 1960, was originally developed in co-operation with Fiat. It built on the lessons from the Citroën G-mini and EN101 projects. It used the then new and advanced Fiat 127 platform, featuring a transversely mounted engine driving the front wheels, with an end-on gearbox layout that Fiat had pioneered in the 1960s. When cooperation with Fiat ended, a new Citroën-designed platform was planned. After the takeover of Citroën by Peugeot in the wake of the 1974 oil crisis, the renamed "Projet VD (Voiture Diminuée)" became the Citroën Visa, incorporating the floor pan of the Peugeot 104 and using the advanced 104 engine with the (under-engine) transmission and chassis.[4] It was the first new model under the platform-sharing policy of PSA Peugeot Citroën that continues today. The earlier Citroën LN was no more than a facelift of the Peugeot 104Z "Shortcut" with a re-engine and transmission from the Citroën Dyane.

Eventually, in 1981, the original Citroën platform design from "Project Y" emerged as an Oltcit in Romania, using a Citroën Visa flat-twin engine and Citroën GS-based gearbox, and Citroën GS flat-four engine and gearbox. Beginning in July 1984, it was also sold in Western Europe as the Citroën Axel.[3] Citroën was hoping to recoup money that Citroën had invested in Romania that the communist government couldn't repay. The Axel had been scheduled for an earlier introduction, but Oltcit had been unable to provide either the quality or the quantity expected by their French partners. This project was problematic for Citroën due to productivity and build quality issues and 60,184 cars were made, even though the base models were priced below the 2CV in Western Europe. The Axel was never sold in the UK.

When launched in France, Citroën acknowledged that the Axel was a competitor of their Visa. However, that the Axel only had three doors and was of a simpler, more robust design was considered enough to offset any possible loss of (already shrinking) Visa sales.[5] The four-cylinder Axel 11 was 10 percent cheaper than a two-cylinder Visa in the French market. It also had a particularly low rear loading height, which, with its sturdy, basic construction, contributed to being particularly well received by farmers and denizens of smaller towns.[5]

In addition to the regular Axel, there was also a light commercial version with no rear seats available, called the "Axel Entreprise."


  • Citroën Axel 11 R Entreprise (1129 cc)
  • Citroën Axel 11 R (1129 cc)
  • Citroën Axel 12 TRS (1299 cc)
  • Citroën Axel 12 TRS Entreprise (1299 cc)


Version Engine Power. Max speed.
11/11R 1129 cc air-cooled flat-4 57 PS (42 kW; 56 hp) at 6,250 rpm 150 km/h (93 mph)
12 TRS 1299 cc air-cooled flat-4 61 PS (45 kW; 60 hp) at 5,500 rpm 157 km/h (98 mph)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carlsson, Mårten. "Citroënen som hamnade i öst". Klassiker. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  2. ^ Julian Marsh. "Citroën G-mini prototype and projet EN101". Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  3. ^ a b Mastrostefano, Raffaele, ed. (1985). Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1985 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. p. 206. ISBN 88-7212-012-8.
  4. ^ "Projet Y". Citroënet. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  5. ^ a b Bellevue, Jean (September 1984). Cropley, Steve (ed.). "Oracle". Car. London, UK: FF Publishing: 61.

External links[edit]