Peugeot


The History of Peugeot

   

Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot CitroŽn, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.
The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion trademark. The company produced its first car in 1891. Due to family discord, Armand Peugeot in 1896 founded the Société des Automobiles Peugeot.
Peugeot's roots go back to 19th-century coffee mill and bicycle manufacturing. The Peugeot company and family is originally from Sochaux, France. Peugeot retains a large manufacturing plant and Peugeot Museum there. It also sponsors the Sochaux football club, founded in 1928 by a member of the Peugeot family.
The Peugeot family of Valentigney, Montbéliard, Franche-Comté, France, began in the manufacturing business in the 1700s. In 1842 they added production of coffee, pepper and salt grinders. The company's entry into the vehicle market was by means of crinoline dresses, which used steel rods, leading to umbrella frames, saw blades, wire wheels, and ultimately bicycles. Armand Peugeot introduced his "Le Grand Bi" penny-farthing in 1882, along with a range of other bicycles. Peugeot bicycles continued to be built until very recently, although the car company and bike company parted ways in 1926.
Armand Peugeot became interested in the car early on, and after meeting with Gottlieb Daimler and others, was convinced of its viability. The first Peugeot car (a three-wheeled steam-powered car designed by Léon Serpollet) was produced in 1889; only four examples were made. Steam power was heavy and bulky and required lengthy warmup times. In 1890, after meeting Gottlieb Daimler and Émile Levassor, steam was abandoned in favour of a four-wheeled car with a petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine built by Panhard under Daimler licence. The car was more sophisticated than many of its contemporaries, with a three-point suspension and a sliding-gear transmission.
More cars followed, twenty-nine being built in 1892, forty in 1894, seventy-two in 1895, 156 in 1898, and fully three hundred in 1899. These early models were given "Type" numbers with the Type 12, for example, dating from 1895. Peugeot was also an early pioneer in motor racing, entering the 1894 Paris-Rouen Rally with five cars (placing second, third and fifth). The vehicles were very much horseless carriages in appearance and were steered by a tiller.
1896 saw the first Peugeot engines built; no longer were they reliant on Daimler. Designed by Rigoulot, the first engine was an 8 hp (6.0 kW) horizontal twin fitted to the back of the Type 15.  Further improvements followed: the engine moved to the front on the Type 48 and was soon under a bonnet at the front of the car, instead of hidden underneath; the steering wheel was adopted on the Type 36; and they began to look more like the modern car.
In 1896 Armand Peugeot broke away from Les Fils de Peugeot FrŤres to form his own company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot, building a new factory at Audincourt to focus entirely on cars.
Peugeot added a motorcycle to its range in 1903, and motorcycles have been built under the Peugeot name ever since. By 1903, Peugeot produced half of the cars built in France, and they offered the 5 hp (4 kW) Bébé, a 6.5 hp (4.8 kW) four-seater, and an 8 hp (6.0 kW) and 12 hp (8.9 kW) resembling contemporary Mercedes models.
By 1910, Peugeot's product line included a 1,149 cc (70 cu in) two-cylinder and six four-cylinders, of between 2 litres and 6 litres. In addition, a new factory opened the same year at Sochaux, which became the main plant in 1928.
During the 1920s, Peugeot expanded, in 1926 splitting the cycle (pedal and motor) business off to form Cycles Peugeot, the consistently profitable cycle division seeking to free itself from the rather more cyclical auto business, and taking over the defunct Bellanger and De Dion companies in 1927. 1928 saw the introduction of the Type 183.
New for 1929 was the Peugeot 201, the cheapest car on the French market, and the first to use the later Peugeot trademark (and registered as such)óthree digits with a central zero. The 201 would get independent front suspension in 1931.  Soon afterwards the Depression hit; Peugeot sales decreased but the company survived.
In 1933, attempting a revival of fortune, the company unveiled a new, aerodynamically styled range. In 1934 Peugeot introduced the 402 BL Éclipse Décapotable, the first convertible with a retractable hardtop.
Three interesting models of the thirties were the Peugeot 202, Peugeot 302 and Peugeot 402. These cars had curvaceous bodies with headlights behind sloping grille bars.
Post-war in 1946, the company restarted car production with the 202, delivering 14000 cars.  In 1947, Peugeot introduced the Peugeot 203, with coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering, and hydraulic brakes. The 203 set new Peugeot sales records, remaining in production until 1960.
Peugeot took over Chenard-Walcker and bought a part of Hotchkiss in 1950.
More models followed and like many European manufacturers, collaboration with other firms increased; Peugeot worked with Renault from 1966 and Volvo from 1972.
In 1974 Peugeot bought a 30% share of CitroŽn, and took it over completely in 1975 after the French government gave large sums of money to the new company. CitroŽn was in financial trouble because it developed too many radical new models for its financial resources.
The joint parent company became the PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme) group, which aimed to keep separate identities for both the Peugeot and CitroŽn brands, while sharing engineering and technical resources.
The group then took over the European division of Chrysler (which were formerly Rootes and Simca), in 1978 as the American auto manufacturer struggled to survive. Further investment was required because PSA decided to create a new brand for the entity, based on the Talbot sports car last seen in the 1950s. From then on, the whole Chrysler/Simca range was sold under the Talbot badge until production of Talbot-branded passenger cars was shelved in 1986.
All of this investment caused serious financial problems for the entire PSA group; PSA lost money from 1980 to 1985.
In 1983 Peugeot launched the popular and successful Peugeot 205, which is largely credited for turning the company's fortunes around.
In 1984 PSA developed its first contacts with The People's Republic of China, resulting in the successful Dongfeng Peugeot-CitroŽn Automobile venture in Wuhan.
In 1986, the company dropped the Talbot brand for passenger cars when it ceased production of the Simca-based Horizon/Alpine/Solara models. What was to be called the Talbot Arizona became the 309, with the former Rootes plant in Ryton and Simca plant in Poissy being turned over for Peugeot assembly. Producing Peugeots in Ryton was significant, as it signalled the very first time Peugeots would be built in Britain. The Talbot name survived for a little longer on commercial vehicles until 1992 before being shelved completely.
In the early nineties, poor and declining sales caused the company to cease U.S. and Canada operations after 33 years. There are currently no known plans to return to the American market.
Beginning in the late 1990s, the Peugeot-CitroŽn combination seems to have found a better balance. Savings in costs are no longer made to the detriment of style.
Plans for expansion that had been drawn have now been replaced with plans for 'increases in efficiency and pioneering technology'.
Peugeot is also planning on pursuing new markets, namely in China, Russia and South America.

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