Peugeot (PSA Peugeot Citroen)

The history of the Peugeot car company can be traced right back to 1810 when Jean-Frederic Peugeot and his brother Jean-Pierre converted the family textile mill in Alsace into a foundry and invented a process for producing sprung steel. They began to make saws, watch springs and other such products. In 1858 the company adopted the Lion logo and in 1885 - by then being run by Jean-Pierre's grandson Armand Peugeot - diversified into the production of bicycles. Four years later Armand produced the first Peugeot automobile, a steam-powered three-wheeler. Steam was rejected and Peugeot began to use Daimler petrol engines - which had been exhibited at the 1889 Paris Exhibition. The first customer car - claimed to be the first in the world - was delivered in 1891. The company produced 29 in 1892 and production had increased to 300 by 1899. Some of this success was due to achievements in competition. Peugeot entered a car in the 1894 Paris-Rouen Trial, which is recognized as having been the world's first motor race. This was followed by victory in the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race. That year Andre Michelin used a Peugeot to try out his pneumatic tires. Peugeot began producing its own engines in 1896. That same year Robert Peugeot established a separate automobile company called the Societe Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot.In 1900 Peugeot produced the first small car - known as the Bebe. Two years later a factory was opened in Lille and the company diversified into motorbikes soon afterwards. The companies grew quickly and there was a major restructuring in 1910 with the construction of a new factory in Sochaux. Before the First World War Peugeot enjoyed enormous success in motor racing with drivers Georges Boillot and Jules Goux racing under the Lion-Peugeot banner. Boillot won the 1910 Targa Florio but then, more importantly, triumphed in the French GP at Dieppe in 1912. The following year disaster struck when chief racing designer Paul Zuccarelli was killed in a crash while testing for the ACF GP at Amiens. Boillot and Goux finished 1-2 in the event. In 1914 they were beaten by the mighty Mercedes cars but Dario Resta helped Peugeot's cause a year later by winning the American Grand Prix in San Francisco. The following year Howdy Wilcox won again in Santa Monica.After the war Boillot used the same cars to win the 1919 Targa Florio but thereafter Peugeot faded from the sporting scene.The company revived and in 1922 introduced the first diesel-powered cars. More importantly was the introduction of the Quadrilette which replaced the Bebe. One hundred thousand of these were to be built in the years that followed. Success brought acquisitions, with Peugeot buying the Bellanger car company in Neuilly in 1927, followed by the De Dion Bouton factory in Puteaux. The company also began a program to build cars at Mannheim in Germany but this was not a success. In 1929 the company launched the successful 201 and this was followed in the late 1930s by the big-selling 202 and 402 models. Between the wars there was very little sporting activity at Peugeot, although occasional privateers achieved good results with the French cars.The 202 remained the important model when the company went back into production after the Second World War but in 1947 there was a new 203 which continued to be sold until 1960. The expansion continued with the acquisition of Chenard-Walcker and the purchase of a majority shareholding in Hotchkiss. In the mid-1950s Roland Peugeot successfully defeated an attempt to expand internationally and go into competition with the big US carmakers.The Peugeot 403 arrived in 1955 and by 1964 a total of 1.2m of the cars had been sold. In the early 1960s there were the first hints of an alliance with Citroen. This was cemented in 1976 when the French government convinced Peugeot to buy Citroen and PSA Peugeot-Citroen was established. This was followed in 1978 by the takeover of Chrysler France and the launch in 1979 of Automobiles Talbot (a marque which had been owned by Chrysler). In the end, however, Talbot was merged into Peugeot and the company embarked on a new series of cars for the 1980s.With Peugeot needing to adopt a more global approach it was decided that the company would establish a new competition department with the intention of mounting a major rallying program. In 1982 Peugeot Talbot Sport's director Jean Todt announced that the company was building a 4WD turbocharged, mid-engined version of the Peugeot 205 for the 1984 World Rally Championship. The program was supported by new chairman Jacques Calvet and was very successful with Ari Vatanen and Terry Harriman winning the 1984 1000 Lakes, San Remo and RAC Rallies. The following year there were six wins, Timo Salonen took the World Championship and Peugeot won the Manufacturers' title. In 1986 the title went to Juha Kankkunen and Peugeot won a second Manufacturers' title. A dispute with the FIA led to the team's withdrawal from the World Rally Championship and the company switched to raid-rallies with four consecutive wins on the Paris-Dakar between 1987-90 with the 205 and 405 models. Peugeot also sent cars to win the famous Pike's Peak hillclimb in the United States although in 1991 the company withdrew from the US market.In 1991 there was a change of emphasis with Peugeot entering the Sportscar World Championship with the 905. The following year the team won every round except Monza and Le Mans. But in 1993 Peugeot Sport scored an historic 1-2-3 in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Todt left to join Ferrari and Peugeot Sport came under the control of former racer Jean-Pierre Jabouille. He began work on an F1 engine design and that autumn Peugeot announced plans to enter Grand Prix racing as an engine manufacturer. There were talks with Benetton, Jordan and Larrousse but at the last minute the company did a deal with McLaren. Calvet was not interested in the F1 plan which was championed by Frederic Saint-Geours.The F1 program was not a success. McLaren ended the relationship after just the 1994 season and Peugeot join forces with the Jordan team. After three unsuccessful years, Peugeot did a deal with the new Prost Grand Prix but this too failed to produce any victories. In 1999 Peugeot announced plans to return to the World Rally Championship and sold its F1 operations to Asiatech.