Singapore
Page creation 16/12/2012, revision 14/02/2013
All rights reserved DSinAsia 2006-2016, except otherwise indicated
Many thanks to former Citroen representative Henry Ang, to his former Sales & Marketing
Manager Larry Lim, and to Toby Huynh, Curator of the Outram General Hospital Museum, for
kindly sharing their valuable documents and memories. Singapore Press Holdings
documents and Singapore news archives are used with permission. All rights reserved, and
they seem serious about it.  
(Straits Times, 27 Dec 1969)
The face-lifted wagon version is advertised in 1970 (Straits Times, 12 Jul 1970) but did not meet success, just like its
previous version, according to Henry Ang. One can nevertheless spot this one on Orchard Road, with the Mandarin Hotel
under construction on the right, on this press photo dated 13 May 1969 (Singapore Press Holdings)
Henry Ang
(Straits Times,
24 Jan 1976)
Citroen advertising in the '70s. The DS23 is introduced in 1974, and the CX, also "Car of the Year", in 1975 (Straits
Times; clock-wise, from upper left: 10 Mar 1972, 16 Aug 1972, 15 Sep 1975, 22 Mar 1974).
The show-room in 1976  (Straits Times, 24 Jan 1976)
Advance Automobile Pte Ltd, the new Citroen agent for
Singapore (Straits Times, 26 Aug 1979)
Henry Ang around the time he decided to start a new
company , "Eurocars", in order to import the Skoda and
Volga brands (Straits Times, 12 Jul 1978)
The show-room of Advance Automobile in 1982 (Straits
Times, 24 May 1982)
An advertisement by Advance Automobile (Straits Times, 20 Jun 1984)
March 1972. Henry, far right, watches his wife Jenny shake hands with Hospital
Director of Medical Services Dr Andrew Chew (doc. Toby Huynh)
A DS on a Singaporean street (Press photo, 31 May 1975, Singapore Press Holdings)
Former second-hand car dealer Henry Ang took over the Citroen representation in Singapore
in 1968. Sales reached their peak in the early '70s, with the DS and the GS, but he finally had
to give up, in 1979.
See the first part of the story
Local advertisements for the newly started "Henry
Ang Agency", with an address on 131,
Clemenceau Avenue, not far from where Eastern
Auto was.

The Citroen advertised is the face-lifted model,
with the new front, in DS or ID version, unveiled in
France the year before (Straits Times, from left to
right 9 Feb 1968, 3 Dec 1968, 14 Aug 1969).

The very first ad by Henry Ang, far left, shows that
he can only sell for delivery "in Paris". In early
1968, he probably did not have the representation
rights for Singapore just yet.  
Henry Ang, 82 years old when I could find and meet  
him in December, 2011, recalled that he first bought  
some shares of Eastern Auto sometime in 1967, and
decided he would "revive" the business by visiting and
motivating the dealers upcountry.  But a few months
later, expecting a deal with Honda, the Chan brothers
asked to buy their shares back at the same price.  
Henry obliged, but the deal with the Japanese brand  
did not materialize and Eastern Auto effectively went
bankrupt. Jacques Eyrud, an executive from Citroen's
headquarters, then came and convinced Henry to
continue and help rebuild Citroen's reputation in
Singapore, which was "in shambles". Henry accepted,
rented a small shop on 131, Clemenceau Avenue,    
and displayed an ID19 which he quickly sold.  
Citroen promised to support, for example by shipping cars in consignment:  
they were shipped to Singapore, but Henry would pay them only once they   
were sold. But the brand's reputation had to be rebuilt, according to Henry:
low sales, poor maintenance service, few spare parts, and Eastern Auto had
been allowed a very small import quota by the government. But sales started
to pick up again, the quota system was lifted, and in 1971 Henry decided to
move to larger premises on land he bought on 9, Leng Kee Road. A former
clothing factory was transformed into a show-room that could accomodate
four cars.  The company name was changed to "Henry Ang Agencies Pte".
At the same time the arrival of the GS, "Car of the Year", helped boost the
sales. At peak times, he could sell as many as 40 cars per month: about 30
GS and 10 DS.  He was even invited with his wife Jenny to Paris by Citroen,
as the most successful dealer in Asia, and given a prize in recognition.     
Left and below:
advertisements by Henry Ang
show the range available to
the Singaporean public in the
early '70s: the DS21 Pallas
and D20 Super
(sic), but also,
from 1971, the new GS Club,
which sold rather well (Straits
Times 25 Aug 1970, 30 Jul
1971, 28 Nov 1971).
The Henry Ang Agencies counted as many as  
56 staff at peak time. The customers for the DS
were local people, not expats anymore: doctors,
engineers, architects. Only one "Prestige" (the
VIP version made on order by body-maker
Chapron in Paris, with the separation between
the front and rear seats) was sold, to the sultan
Tunku Mustafa of Selangor, and only one SM,
to the sultan of Johore. But since it was a LHD,
it could not be registered in Singapore, and was
registered in Malaysia instead. The wagon
(estate version) did not sell. Same thing for the
2CV, and the Ami: Henry used the only one
ever imported in Singapore.
In 1971, Henry thought
it would be a good idea
to sell the ID in
ambulance version,
and imported one at
his own risk. Five
months later, finding no
customer, he decided
to donate the car to the
Outram General
Hospital in Singapore.
This is to my
knowledge the only
example of an
ambulance DS (ID)
having made its way to
Asia.
But things started to turn sour when the
government decided to reduce the number   
of cars through higher taxes, after the first    
oil shocks.  Henry also complains that in
1974, Citroen forced him to buy too many
cars, more than he could sell, mostly GS    
with features not fit for the local market. In
1976, he added a "precision engineering
department" to his business, "in order to
shorten repair times". In July 1978, he   
added new brands to his business: Skoda
and Volga, for which he created a new
company, Eurocars.
Finally, in a Jan 1979 interview, Henry Ang
announced that he gives up the Citroen
business, due to "poor sales and the  
Japanese competition". Mr Van, who had
replaced Mr Eyrud in the Citroen  
headquarters, came and tried to find a new
agent in Singapore and Malaysia. Finally,
"Advance Automobile Pte", a subsidiary of
Thai auto importer Yontrakit, and already in
charge of Citroen in Thailand, was chosen.
Henry Ang emigrated to California in 1984,
where he imported orchids from his own
plantation in Singapore, but definitively
returned to his country in 1988, where he still
resides today with his wife Jenny.
Looking back, Henry, who drove his own DS23 while his wife had a GS, thinks the DS was
"too advanced" for the local market: the hydraulic system, the automatic clutch, the
problems with the cooling... The design did not especially appeal (the first model was called
"Froggy"), and the car's qualities on rough roads were not deemed necessary or useful on
Singapore's state-of-the-art roads.   
In Feb 1974, a news article announced the local production of GS and DS, about 300 cars per
month, with Citroen and partner companies named "Sharikat Mercantile Motors", Citroen's
distirbutor in Malaysia, and "Mara". These plans seem to have been quickly abandoned.  
Yontrakit added the
Peugeot brand to the
portfolio in 1987, and
continued to manage
"Advance Automobile"
until 2006. The whole
business was then
taken over by Cycle &
Carriage, a subsidiary
of the major
conglomerate Jardine
Matheson Group, up
to this day .
here