PARIS (Reuters) -- Hydraulic suspension, once key to the appeal of the original Citroen DS, is to be scrapped by PSA/Peugeot-Citroen as the carmaker cuts costs, sources said.
The technology, manufactured at a PSA plant in northern France, will end with the Citroen C5 sedan, according to several sources close to the company.
A spokesman for PSA declined to comment on company product plans, which remain confidential.
Combining a hydraulic pump with nitrogen-filled pneumatic spheres, the Citroen suspension system first brought an almost unmatched level of motoring comfort between 1955 and 1975 and contributed to the space-age mystique of the futuristic-looking DS model of that period.
It was also credited with saving General Charles de Gaulle from assassination in 1962, when the presidential DS was able to escape from an ambush even with two tires shot out.
More recently, however, electronically controlled alternatives such as Volkswagen's DCC adaptive suspension have beaten Citroen's hydraulics - or more accurately hydropneumatics - on handling and price.
The decision to scrap the in-house suspension could be part of wider cost-cutting measures launched under CEO Carlos Tavares that are cutting inventory, headcount and the production of components that can be sourced more cheaply elsewhere.
"Tavares has made it clear that there are now other systems that can do just as well," one of the sources said. "Hydropneumatics cost a lot for not much benefit."
Ironically, however, the phase-out comes just as PSA is developing DS as a stand-alone luxury car brand, playing on the new models' connection with their famous ancestor.
None of the new DS models use Citroen's hydropneumatic suspension, and the newly upgraded flagship DS5 is supplied with "preloaded linear valve" shocks by Germany's ZF Friedrichshafen.
"We still aim to be best for comfort," a PSA company source said, "but in future we'll do it with technologies other than hydropneumatics."
Among PSA's European peers, hydraulic or pneumatic systems are limited to ultraluxury Rolls-Royce models or high-end offerings from Mercedes and VW's Audi.
Sales of hydropneumatic Citroen C5s dwindled to about 10,000 last year, and their suspension accounted for a small share of overall production at PSA's component plant in Caen, Normandy. The factory still supplies pneumatic spheres to Rolls-Royce.