Initially, the car was conceived of a 5-door, but in order to save, it was decided to stop at the 3-door version with a hatchback, the gas tank was moved from the right side to the left, and the clearance was increased due to the disgusting quality of the Romanian roads. Start of production took place in October 1982, the new car was called Oltcit. The Ceausescu regime insisted that 40% of all component parts for it come from Romania and not allow the transfer of the company's foreign exchange earnings to France; Citroën was forced to sell in Europe the Romanian goods received in payment for the cars sold. Along with other products, Oltcit cars were sold under the name Citroen Axel in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy, competing with each other in this market segment. The only difference between the brands from each other was in the Citroën's double chevron, located on the Axel grille.
This state of affairs could not satisfy Citroen and in 1988 he left the organization, control over the enterprise remained with the Romanian government, but with the collapse of the regime, the release of the model could last only a year and in 1990 was completely stopped. Thus, the Citroen Axel front-wheel minicar was produced from January 1985 to August 1989.
The model had dimensions of 3720/1540/1420 mm with a base of 2370 mm and a curb weight of 820 to 875 kg, depending on the modification. The body was galvanized, it was given a guarantee against corrosion for 6 years.
Citroen Axel was produced in three versions: Axel, Axel 11R and Axel 12TRS. The first two were made for the CMEA countries and were equipped with outdated Citroen air-cooled carburetor engines: a 2-cylinder boxer 0.652 liters (34 hp / 5500 rpm, 50 Nm / 3500 rpm) and a 4-cylinder 8-valve boxer G11 / 631 s, respectively gas distribution system ohc 1,129 l (57 hp / 6250 about, 81Nm / 3500 about). Axel 11R accelerated to 100 km / h in 15.4 seconds, had a maximum speed of 150 km / h and gasoline consumption of 7.6 liters in the combined cycle. Axel 12TRS was equipped with a 4-cylinder 8-valve boxer T13 / 65325 from Citroen GSA also with a gas distribution system ohc, volume 1,299 liters (61 hp / 5500 vol., 96/3250 Nm), gained 100 km / h in 13, 1 s, the maximum speed reached 157 km / h, and fuel consumption of 7.3 liters in the combined cycle.
Models Axel and Axel 11R were completed with 4-speed manual gearbox, and Axel 12TRS - 5MKPP. Suspension was torsion independent front, dependent on the rear. The brakes are front and rear disc, the standard tire size is 135SR13 / 145SR13 / 160P340 for Axel / Axel 11R / Axel 12TRS, respectively, the turning circle was 9.1 m.
The low build quality and mediocre performance caused a weak interest in Citroen Axel from the West European buyer, only a very aggressive pricing policy could contribute to some demand. But in the countries of Eastern Europe Axel had a significant success.