The car introduced the use of an arc-welded monocoque frame, where other cars of the era were based on a frame onto which the body was built. Monocoque construction results in a lighter vehicle, and is now used for virtually all car construction, although body-on-frame construction is still suitable for larger vehicles such as trucks. This method of construction was viewed with great suspicion in many quarters, with doubts about its strength. A type of crash test was developed, taking the form of driving the car off a cliff, to illustrate its great inherent resilience.
Left-hand drive versions were built in Paris, France and Forest, Belgium, and right-hand drive cars were built in Slough, United Kingdom. The Slough version of the 11L was called the Light Fifteen and the long wheelbase 11 was called the Big Fifteen. This confusing terminology referred to the British fiscal tax rating of the time, which was higher than the French, so the 11CV engine was 15HP in England. The 15CV model was called "Big Six" in reference to its 6 cylinder engine.
The development costs of the Traction Avant were very high and Citroën declared bankruptcy in 1934. The largest creditor was Michelin, who then owned Citroën from 1934 until 1976. Under Michelin, Citroën was run as a research laboratory, a test bed for their radial tires and new automotive technologies. In 1954 Citroën's experiments with hydropneumatic technology produced its first result, the "15H"a variant of the 6-cylinder model 15 with a self-leveling, height-adjustable rear suspension, a field trial for the revolutionary DS released the following year.
Production of the Traction Avant ended in July 1957. Over 23 years, 759,111 were built, including 26,400 assembled in Slough (GB), 31,750 assembled in Forest (Belgium) and 1,823 assembled at Köln in Germany. The total reflects the production stoppage during World War II.
Traction Avants are fairly robust vehicles. Every few years, Traction Avant enthusiasts ship their vehicles to an exotic location for a rally. In 2002, for example, a group of over 30 Tractions drove from Los Angeles to New York without incident.