mardi 10 mars 2020

Articles dans la PRESSE CHINOISE sur le "Rassemblement du Siècle" et sur mon discours de La Ferté-Vidame

Message de Qu Hongyu, Public Relation Manager de DONGFEN CITROËN (Chine) :

"Dear Sir, your speech is very amazing, We have translated it in Chinese and shared it to Chinese journalists. We are moved and inspired by your speech. Many journalists referred your speech in their articles"

Il envoie les articles de la presse chinoise (en chinois puis la traduction en anglais) sur le "Rassemblement du Siècle" à La Ferté-Vidame et sur le discours que j'y ai prononcé.

Link :

Traduction de mon discours en anglais pour la presse chinoise :

Opening ceremony speech by Henri-Jacques Citroën
If I were a singer, I would say: Hello – La Ferté Vidame! I’m tempted to say: Hello, Woodstock! Citroën’s Woodstock!
Hello, fans, admirers, Citroën collectors! Hello to all of you who keep the flame lit by André Citroën, which does not go out, and which continues to burn! La Ferté-Vidame… Citroën pride!
Tributes have long been paid to André Citroën throughout the world. The André Citroën quay where the Javel factory was located. The “Javel-André Citroën” metro station which was recently redecorated on the occasion of the Centenary. Here and there, boulevards and schools bear his name, an André Citroën research chair at the École Polytechnique.
In the United States, supreme tribute of the Americans, a space is dedicated to him forever at the Automotive Hall of Fame: in October 1998, he was the first Frenchman inducted into this temple and I had the privilege of receiving the trophy on his behalf.
But the most beautiful tribute is the one you are all paying him, gathered here today, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a society that has marked our time. It is the largest gathering of brand enthusiasts ever seen in the world, it is the largest open-air automobile museum in history, certainly ephemeral but very real. While waiting for a real museum to be created one day…
It is also the largest outdoor jewellery store in the world! Indeed, your vehicles are real jewels, thanks to you who collect them with love and know-how. To see them gathered here shows how creative the brand has been and how inventive and meticulous you have been to keep them as good as new!
What other brand has created so many mythical cars? Here they are: the Type A, the Kegresse, the Rosalie, the Traction Avant, designed by André Citroën with all the inventors and engineers he has identified and highlighted. And also, those that were created after him: the 2CV, the DS, the Méhari, the SM, the CX, the C6 and all the others…
When the world’s Internet users voted for the 20th century car in 2000, it was the only brand to have distinguished itself by the presence of 3 models among the 20 most voted cars: the Traction Avant, the 2CV and the DS…
In June 1919, this outstanding automobile adventure began. But it all started before, 18 years earlier, with the manufacture of herringbone gears (chevron), which inspired the shape of the Citroën logo.
The First World War began and Bernard Citroën, his dear brother, died in the trenches. A tragedy for André, who, fighting on the front, felt exasperated by the imbalance: the Germans sent many more shells on the French lines than the opposite. Without hesitation, he asked his superior for permission to go to the government to propose the immediate construction of a factory to produce as many shells as the enemy. In 4 months, on vacant grounds in the Javel area of Paris, this factory was built. An unfailing reactivity.
When the war ended, inspired by the new industrial methods that were developing in the United States, André Citroën transformed his shell factory: he contemplate to mass-produce cars on a line in order to reduce costs and sell them at an affordable price: he wanted the car to become the means of transport par excellence. On June 4, 1919, the famous Type A was released.
A newcomer to a market where other manufacturers, such as Ford, Renault or Peugeot, have existed for a long time, it became the leading French manufacturer in 6 years and the leading European manufacturer in 10 years!
100 years later, Citroën cars are everywhere. It is impossible for me to forget my name when I walk down the street. On television, on the radio, my name resonates during advertising interruptions! I feel like I’m called all the time.
Few industries in the world are 100 years old. This sustainability has been made possible by the formidable teams of workers, engineers, executives and managers who have succeeded one another. The impetus given by André Citroën has made them “Citroënists” in soul and behavior. As if they were part of a clan that shares a vision, a motivation, a know-how, a complicity…
What a fervor are shown by those who, one day, entered the Citroën universe! You, the collectors, the enthusiasts, have always impressed me with your attachment to the brand and your admiration for its founder. A craze that sometimes gives way to veneration.
What about the photos of André Citroën, affectionately nicknamed “Le Patron”, that some of them have glued in their cars or the signs “Merci, André!” that I have observed during your gatherings?
André Citroën is an icon, as are Gandhi, Mandela and Jim Morrison in other fields. How did he become one? A friend, an American psychoanalyst, explains: as the War ends, André Citroën starts his activity with enthusiasm, optimism and determination. He conveys an energy and hope that people, saddened and depressed by the effects of war, perceive. With his charisma, he showed that anything was possible and this left its mark on people’s minds.
My Internet publications generated many messages about my grandfather. Some words come back: inspiration; spirit; national heritage; genius; master of resilience.
According to the journalist Philippe Doucet, André Citroën is guided by the 3 theological virtues defined by Saint Paul: faith, hope and charity. Faith in humanity. The hope of a better world for all. Charity, in other words, love of the other, kindness towards the other, which makes him imagine the car as an instrument that will make life easier for his fellow citizens, that will bring them closer together.
A man who was by no means attracted by the lure of profit. He owned nothing but his factories. His apartment in Paris, rue Octave Feuillet, was rented, just like the house in Deauville! Only his family, the success of his companies and always being at the avant-garde counted.
In 1924, when he launched the “Croisiere Noire”, the crossing of Africa with its new off-road Kegresse vehicles, he wanted to open communication routes where, at best, there were tracks, in order to know better the continent, bring people closer together and promote trade between them.
In 1931, when he initiated the “Croisiere Jaune”, the extraordinary crossing in autochenilles throughout Asia, from Lebanon to China, my grandfather wanted it to be “the ultimate test for men and machines”: he wanted the automobile to break down all geographical, cultural and political barriers.
These were exceptional public relations operations as the expeditionaries reported the day’s events every evening by radio. The public could thus follow the evolution of the expedition. A revolution in communication when we were in the 1920s and 1930s!
André Citroën invented everything in the field of advertising and marketing. His name on the Eiffel Tower for 10 years, the illumination of monuments, offered to the City of Paris. Signs on the roads of our country. Citroën toys for children. Etc. He had an innate sense of public relations. Promote the brand on a full-time basis…
One day, a PSA manager showed me the 1932 dealer manual, saying to me, “Look, this manual can be applied to the letter today!”.
Always at the forefront, even in the societal field. André Citroën wanted women to drive, who, at the time, did not have the same rights as men: “Modern women only drive in Citroëns” was a slogan that outraged the Conservatives.
Unfortunately, this whole beautiful story ends in tragedy.
In 1932, André Citroën lost his best friend, his right arm, the one who had moderated his ardour and reminded him of the realities: Georges-Marie Haardt, died of illness at the end of the “Croisière Jaune” he had personally led.
That same year, André Citroën visited the completely renovated factory of Louis Renault, his great rival. On leaving, he decided to modernize his Javel factory in Paris to have even more efficient facilities than those of his competitor. A major investment in the midst of the global economic crisis, which Georges-Marie Haardt would surely have discouraged him from making. Financial problems arise. To face them, it is necessary to quickly market the newly designed Traction Avant. It comes out too quickly without having been properly tested.
My grandfather, who was ill, lost control of his company and died in July 1935.
Jacques Séguéla, in his latest book “Papa, Maman, Citroën” comments on this tragic end: “André Citroën, the tightrope walker without a pendulum, will have left the stage as he lived: too quickly”.
Thus are born the legends…
The following year, 1936, the revolutionary Traction Avant became a great success. The company returns to profit and moves forward.
André Citroën brought cheerfulness. He loved the cabaret artists who made fun of him so often. One day, he decided to bring together the 12 most famous comics and proposed them, in verse, the following competition:
Lelièvre, Mauricet, Balthon, Rop and Dorin
You have mistreated me from quatrain to quatrain
Thanks to me, every day you pick up bravos
To the best of you I offer a 5CV.
[NB: translating of poems is difficult, hence the original French text:
Lelièvre, Mauricet, Balthon, Rop et Dorin
Vous m’avez maltraité de quatrain en quatrain
Grâce à moi, chaque jour, vous cueillez des bravos
Au meilleur d’entre vous j’offre une Cinq Chevaux.]
Then each artist read out his quatrain (4-liner verse). The one who won the car was Leo Lelièvre with this beautiful poem:
Lelièvre, my ancestor, that we constantly mock
By the turtle, one day, was beaten by far;
Thanks to Citroën, I can overcome everyone,
There’s no point in running, you need a tuned engine.
[the original French text:
Lelièvre, mon aïeul, que l’on blague à la longue
Par la tortue, un jour, fut battu de très loin ;
Moi, grâce à Citroën, je gratte tout le monde,
Rien ne sert de courir, il faut un moteur à point.]
This competition shows André Citroën’s sense of humour and generosity. In the 20th century, try to find a more sympathetic industrialist than him!
Louis Renault once said: “Citroën does good to us, it prevents us from falling asleep”. This sentence is still relevant today.
I have in mind the famous slogan: “You have no idea what Citroën can do for you”. Today, Citroën can make us live, together, a great moment, an unforgettable celebration, a historic high mass. And thank you to the organizers, Alain Thuret, Xavier Crespin, Arnaud Belloni and their teams for organizing it so well.
But before giving free rein to our communion, I would like to share with you two eloquent and moving messages recently received.
The first from Franck Don, the CFTC central union delegate at PSA: “When I was hired in 1986 at Citroën Aulnay, we still felt the family’s imprint with the ever-present concern for the well-being of its employees: today I am PSA Groupe (…) and I will never forget, however, the Citroën company which instilled in me the pride of working for this company”.
2nd message from a Latin American friend, a definitive message: “Citroën is France!”
Citroën is France…

(End of Speech,

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