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The History of Peugeot

A brief history of the Peugeot Marque

Peugeot has been manufacturing cars since 1889. The “Peugeot Frères” company was officially founded in 1810 when the Peugeot family bought a cereal mill at Sous Cratet and set about capitalising on the Industrial Revolution by converting it into a steel factory.

This factory began producing sheet steel and various tools but it was handsaws which inspired the famous emblem of the company. From the 1850s the lion emblem was stamped onto Peugeot made products to symbolise the strength and flexibility of the steel.

In the early days the Peugeot brothers ensured the success of the company through their ingenuity and creativity. They quickly identified ‘gaps in the market’ for a range of products from crinoline stays for the voluminous skirts worn at the time to pepper mills and coffee grinders.

In 1869 the company identified the new trends in vehicle design and began producing horse drawn carriages for the army. Throughout the latter decades of the nineteenth century, Peugeot were identifying the latest trends in vehicle development and developing forms of transport such as horse drawn carriages for the army and bicycle. As the popularity of two wheeled transport grew, Peugeot began working on plans for a very new type of venture.

In 1889 there were 1100 people employed in Peugeot factories and Armand Peugeot exhibited the steam powered “Serpollet-Peugeot” at the Paris show. This was the first car to bear the name Peugeot.

By 1890, Armand had developed the petrol powered “Peugeot Type 2”, thus demonstrating the company’s early commitment to innovation and ‘cutting edge’ development. Indeed, just three years after the very first car was built, Peugeot was the first car manufacturer to fit rubber tyres (1892) to it’s motor vehicles. In 1897 the Peugeot ‘range’ featured five new models including a two seater and a ‘vis-à-vis’.

Sales of Peugeot’s motor vehicles were increasing; by 1900 production had reached 500 vehicles per year. To cater for the rapidly increasing demand, a head office was set up in Levallois, Paris, in 1902 to cater for and administer the demand. Two decades later, in 1925, the 100,000th Peugeot car came off the production line.

The success of the Peugeot marque has continued to grow year after year and the company has continuously demonstrated its commitment to style and innovation, offering its customers the very latest technologies. This commitment can be seen in a great number of ‘Peugeot World firsts’ throughout the years. Peugeot’s sporting success in the ACF Grand Prix of 1912 heralded the first car in the world with four camshafts and four valves per cylinder

In 1934, Peugeot showcased the World’s first coupe cabriolet with and electrically retractable ‘hard top’ roof (a system still popular today on the 206CC and 307CC. Just a year later, the 402 was far ahead of its rivals in as the first car to feature an aerodynamically styled body as a pre-requisite feature.

In 1955, Peugeot unveiled the 403 which heralded the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the Turin-based Italian designer, Pininfarina. The 403 was the first Peugeot to have a convex wind-screen and the first model to reach the million mark in terms of production. Continuing the theme of innovation, in 1979, Peugeot was the first company to offer a turbocharged diesel engine, on the 604.

Of great significance to Peugeot Motor Company here in the UK was the acquisition by PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN in 1978 of the three European subsidiaries of Chrysler Corporation: Chrysler-France (Simca), Chrysler UK (Sunbeam-Rootes) and Chrysler España. This created the foundations for Peugeot UK but it was undoubtedly the phenomenal popularity of 205 and 206 (more than 10 million models have been produced Worldwide) which have allowed the company to build on this foundation.

In pursuing the brand’s core values of reliability, style, dynamism and innovation, Peugeot can no doubt be confident of building upon this success in the future.

Year Model Production Figures

1929 201 89,010 units to Sept 1937

1932 301 69,312 units to Sept 1936

1934 401 13,545 units to August 1935

1934 601 4,004 units to July 1935

1935 402 70,469 units to Occupation

1936 302 25,103 units to April 1938

1938 202 104,126 units to July 1949

1948 203 685,628 units to July 1949

1955 403 1,214,100 units to December 1966

1960 404 2,885,267 units

1965 204 1,604,290 units

1968 504 3,689,166 units

1969 304 1,178,422 units

1972 104 1,624,990 units

1975 604 153,252 units

1977 305 1,649,177 units

1979 505 1,351,254 units

1983 205 5,258,789 units

1985 309 1,638,623 units

1987 405 2,433,734 units

1989 605 254,350 units

1991 106 2,463,930 units

1993 306 2,423,904 units

1994 806 125,018 units

1995 406 945,668 units

1998 206 4,764,236 units until end 2005

2000 607 147,391 units until end 2005

2001 307 1,687,397 units until end 2005

2001 206 CC 338,735 units until end 2005

2001 Partner Combi 423,103 units until end 2005

2002 206 SW 303,886 units until end 2005

2002 307 Estate 240,264 units until end 2005

2002 307 SW 470,135 units until end 2005

2003 807 109,313 units until end 2005

2003 307 CC 117,826 units until end 2005

2004 407 286,712 units until end 2005

2004 407 SW 133,005 units until end 2005

2005 107 34,564 units until end 2005

2005 1007 74,997 units until end 2005


Peugeot Milestones

1889 The first Peugeot car, the Serpollet-Peugeot, is introduced by Armand Peugeot

1891 The first named Peugeot car appears - the two seater Type 1 with a 565cc petrol engine with the successful Daimler V2 engine. Armand was forced to shift production away from the family as they did not share his confidence in the burgeoning motor car industry and were more interested in pursuing conventional business interests. Armand responded by starting work at Audincourt on his own engine, a flat- twin producing eight horsepower, impressive for those early days. 1892 Peugeot is the first car manufacturer to fit rubber tyres to a petrol-engined four-wheel car

1895 A Peugeot is exhibited at Britain’s first motor exhibition held at Show grounds Tunbridge Wells.

1899 Peugeot production totals 300 cars across fifteen models, with engines up to 1.6 litres.

1902 Peugeot Head Quarters established near Paris. First Peugeot showroom opened in Brompton Road, London

1905 The rest of the family realise the potential of Armand’s enterprises and after building some motorcycles they produce their first car, which were sold under the name of Lion Peugeot.

1908 The two automotive branches of Peugeot produce a record of 2,200 cars.

1910 Key body, engine and chassis adaptations allow Peugeot to release thirteen new models of the six cylinders 133, plus two new Lion models.

1912 Peugeot introduce the Peugeot L76, the first car in the world to have an engine with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Sochaux production plant is opened.

1913 More than 3,000 Peugeot "Babies" are made from this year onwards, designed by one Ettore Bugatti.

1915 Death of Armand Peugeot, creator of a Limited Company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot.

1919 Star model, the Peugeot Quadrillete, a light two-seater car, is a new sensation in motoring.

1923 Peugeot productions exceed 10,000 for the first time

1926 Peugeot’s 100,000th car is made.

1928 Robert Peugeot splits the company to create Automobiles Peugeot and Cycles Peugeot (also making household appliances and tools).

1929 Peugeot factories in Lille start to specialise in Diesel. Peugeot 201 makes its appearance at the Paris Show in October as the first Peugeot car to bear the newly registered trademark 3 digit name with a central zero – also the first car in the world to have independent front suspension as standard.

1930 Peugeot production at more than 43,000, plus 162,000 bicycles.

1931 The 201 becomes the first car in the world with independent front suspension

1932 Sales of Peugeot’s first "best seller", the 201, rocketed! The car and its new numbering system began to make Peugeots instantly identifiable around the world.

1933 The aerodynamic Peugeot 301 Eclipse appears, with independent front wheels and a back like a dress!

1934 Peugeot introduces the first car in the world to have an electric folding roof – the Peugeot 401 eclipse.

1938 Titans of the road are back! Enter the 601, a 12-horse power machine weighing more than one ton…yet capable of 60mph.

1938 The company unveils the new ‘reliable and economic’ 202, capable of more than 30mph to the gallon.

1943 French factories in occupied France placed under direct control of VW.

1946 Having suffered severe damage to both factories and infrastructure Peugeot begins to rebuild the business and car production is restarted. The "perfect family car", the 203, is designed. But a shortage of raw materials delays its appearance for another two years.

1950 Plans are made to dramatically increase Peugeot car and truck production as the UK become the world’s biggest exporter of cars and the Peugeot Estate car makes its timely appearance as the 30mph speed limit for estates is lifted.

1955 The Peugeot 403 is launched with design work of Pininfarina, embracing everything from family saloon to refined convertible or commercial truck.

1959 The Peugeot 403 becomes the first car in the world to have an automatic cooling fan powered by engine temperature.

1960 The Peugeot 404 is launched (later to have a hugely positive impact on Peugeot’s fortune) incorporating many new features such as a superior ventilation system for passenger comfort, rear door child locks and, later, indirect fuel injected engines.

1965 The Peugeot 204 is introduced – the company’s first front-wheel drive vehicle. It has a light alloy engine with overhead camshaft, four independent wheels and disc brakes on the front wheels. The 404 starts to take off, with its super Deluxe model’s bronze paint, leather interior and chrome plated headlamps appealing to the 60’s middle class.

1967 The 204 estate is fitted with the smallest diesel engine in the world, at 1200cc.

1968 Peugeot 204 gets a new look, front wheel drive and overhead camshaft.

1969 Peugeot 504 introduced. Five millionth Peugeot made, as company becomes France’s second largest producer of passenger cars.

1971 Peugeot, Renault and Volvo begin collaboration on four and six cylinder "Douvrin" engines and the spacious 504 Estate is launched.

1972 Peugeot launch the 104 – the smallest four door car in the world. More than 70,000 employees now work for Peugeot, producing more than 670,000 vehicles annually.

1973 Arrival of the first superminis – the Peugeot 104, Renault 5 and Honda Civic become the cars that would transform their makers.

1974 The stylish 104 Coupé appears and the eight millionth Peugeot is produced.

1976 Peugeot takes over Citroën in April, with a new structure being put in place under the control of the holding company which becomes PSA Peugeot Citroën,

1978 Peugeot surprises everyone by becoming owner of the European interests of Chrysler, North America’s third biggest car company. This would eventually make Peugeot Europe’s No 1 producer. Peugeot 305 is born.

1979 New cars introduced – 305 Diesel, world’s first Turbo Diesel: the 604 and the 505 petrol and diesel models in multiple versions.

1980 Peugeot 305 Estate and 505 Turbo are launched.

1982 Peugeot’s two millionth diesel comes off the production line.

1983 Seminal small car, the Pininfarina-designed Peugeot 205 is introduced – a car that would go on to become an amazing sales success

1984 Peugeot introduce the stunning 205 GTI, 3 door & T16 – cars to reign supreme in the buying public’s affections.

1985 Peugeot 309 is the first British-built Peugeot at Ryton.

1986 The 205 cabriolet is born.

1987 Peugeot introduces the 309 GTI and three door and the new 405, in no less than ten versions.

1988 Peugeot’s famous TV ad "Field of Fire", in which the 405 sped through fields of burning sugar cane, is banned.

1989 New Peugeot 205 Rallye, 405 Automatic, Diesel, T16 and Estate appear. Peugeot introduces the new 605, 405x4, 309 GTI and Turbo Diesels.

1990 Peugeot 405 Turbo Diesel launched.

1991 Peugeot 106 is launched.

1993 The One millionth Peugeot 405 is built 306 is launched (alongside 405) at Ryton.

1994 The Boxer is launched.

1995 Peugeot Talbot Motor Company Ltd., renamed – Peugeot Talbot Motor Company Plc. The Expert Van is Launched.

1996 The Partner Van is launched.

1997 Coming after a model as successful as the 405 the 406 is launched.

1998 Peugeot launch the brilliant 306 Cabriolet and 406 Coupé, styling by Pininfarina; 306 estate is also launched. Launch of the 206 Supermini. Demand is so great that capacity has to be increased in both France and UK. The plan is to build 500,000 in 1999.

1999 The remarkable HDi Common Rail Diesel engine is released which gives more power efficiency and much less pollution. 206 GTI and Roland Garros models are launched. The Ryton Factory produces 4000 cars per week. Highest output since 1973. A third shift at Ryton commences to meet the incredible demand of the 206. All Peugeot and Citroën Manufacturing Plants are now renamed PSA Peugeot Citroën. However Peugeot and Citroën cars will continue to be sold and marketed separately under their own Brand names.

2000 New Peugeot 206 Coupé Cabriolet with the steel roof that fits in the Boot is launched. Replacement for the 605, the Peugeot 607 is launched, featuring state-of-the art Multi-plexing. On the 607 the new particulate filter for the HDi diesel engine makes its debut. The 206 Van is launched.

2001 The 307 Hatchback, 206CC and Partner Combi are launched.

2002 The 307 SW, 307 Estate and 206 SW are launched. The Boxer, Partner Van and Partner Combi are restyled.

2003 The 307CC and 807 are launched.

2004 The 407 is introduced in both Saloon and SW body styles, heralding the arrival of the distinctive new feline look for the Peugeot range. The 607 and Expert are restyled. The 206 became the first small sector diesel car to be fitted with a particulate filter.

2005 The Introduction of the 1007 with two electric front sliding doors and the 107 city car, as well as the restyled 307 range. The 206 becomes the best selling Peugeot ever with worldwide sales exceeding 5 million

2006 Both the 407 Coupé and the 207 are launched.