2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
In June Peugeot celebrated a special anniversary. The brand name Peugeot, which has existed for almost 200 years, initially focused on household appliances before the first automobile was presented in 1891.
A Peugeot 308 SW marks the success story of the French car manufacturer. As the 50 millionth vehicle with a combustion engine from Peugeot, the small station wagon drove off the production line at the main plant in Sochaux and begins preparations for the celebrations in two years' time. Then the brand name will celebrate its 200th anniversary.
From the pepper mill to the automobile
In 1810, however, the Müller sons Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frederic Peugeot were not building automobiles, but household appliances, tools, hoop skirts and saw blades, which became the company's hits. In 1885, his descendant Armand Peugeot began producing bicycles, and six years later the first automobile was in the showrooms.
At the turn of the century, Armand Peugeot established the first sales office in Marseille, and the first vehicles were exported to South America in the same year. Another ten years later, Armand merged with his cousins, who had also previously designed automobiles. One of the family's first successes in 1913 was the "Bebe Lion Peugeot", which was penned by Ettore Bugatti. By 1916, 3095 units of the small car were produced.
160 models up to 1929
A total of 160 different models were produced up to 1929 - from Type 1 to Type 190. Robert Peugeot then introduced something that still characterizes the models of today: three digits with a ?? 0 ?? in the middle, starting with the 201, the first car in the world with standard independent wheel suspension on the front axle.
A total of 34 model series of this type will appear by 2007. This cycle was interrupted in 2005 with the introduction of the Micro-Van 1007, which was followed by the SUV 4007 last year.
Electric vehicle in World War II
But the company is not only shaped by numbers. In 1941, the company introduced a small series with an electric drive, the Löwen. Due to tight capacities during the occupation, the small car VLV drives up to 70 kilometers purely electrically with a 160 kilogram battery. Even today's technology is no further.
But the end of the Second World War also meant the temporary departure from alternative drives. Although electric and hybrid vehicles were presented again in the 1980s, these models did not get beyond the character of a study.
Even the small series of the Peugeot 106 Electric, which is needed for a project trial in La Rochelle, cannot yet make the electric drive socially acceptable. Due to series production, however, Peugeot is still the world's largest supplier of electric vehicles.
Success in racing
In addition to developing alternative drives, Peugeot relied on racing from the start. In 1913 the first victory was achieved at the 500 mile race in Indianapolis, and from 1937 the French start at Le Mans. One year after its debut, a 402 DS Speziale Sport took first place in the two-liter class. The highlight is the triple triumph that the 905s achieved in 1993 on the Sarthe. The current 908 HDI FAP has not yet achieved this triumph.
In addition to the successes on asphalt, Peugeot is also involved in rallying. Especially at the races in Africa, the 404 won trophies in the sixties and the 504 in the seventies, which the 205 continued in the eighties at the World Rally Championship and the Paris-Dakar Rally. With the 206 WRC, Marcus Grönholm can win the drivers' championship twice in the WRC. The successor to the legendary 205 took a total of 25 rally victories.
205 sets new standards
The start of series production of the small car 25 years ago was a great success for Peugeot. A total of 5.278 million units of the bestseller, which was still in production up to ten years ago, were sold. The 205 was also the first small diesel car, which was sold over a million times.
The 205 thus replaced the 403 model, which was the first Peugeot to have exceeded the limit of one million units produced in 1966. The 403, which achieved fame especially as Columbo's company car, was the first French large-scale production car with a diesel engine in 1959. The lion brand has now been recognized for years as a diesel specialist. No wonder, the first attempts with the compression ignition took place 70 years ago. In 1938 a 402 was equipped with this drive variant. Seventy years later, despite the rise in price, those responsible see no slump in sales of the diesel engine.
Spiral turns faster
In general, the spiral naturally turns faster and faster. It took Peugeot from 1891 to 1952 until Peugeot had produced one million cars. The ten millionth Peugeot rolled off the assembly line in 1976, the 20 millionth followed twelve years later. The 40th million was celebrated just six years ago, and in 2004 Peugeot sold more than two million cars within one year for the first time. The celebrations don't seem to stop. (AG)