It is one of the oldest motor companies, having been established in 1810, nearly 200 years ago as a coffee mill company known as Peugeot Frères. The founders of this initial company were Jean Pierre II and Jean Fredric. The coffee mill ran for a few years and then the company switched to the production of Bicycles in 1830. Decades later, Armand Peugeot introduced “Le Grand BI” penny-farthing which became high popular. Armand however seemed to develop and interest in the production of steam-powered carriages.
The company formally shifted to the production of automobile manufacturing in 1882 and in 1889, the first Peugeot car was launched into the market. This car was designed by Leon Serpollet and was a three-wheeled steam powered vehicle. In 1890, Peugeot launched its first petrol-driven vehicle. This vehicle was equipped with a Daimler engine and was named the Type 2. In subsequent years, Peugeot would introduce the Type 12, the first vehicle they made that used rubber tires instead of pneumatic ones. Over the early years, the company would continue to make these small changes as it grew.
The company began the production of motorcycles in 1900 and by then was producing half of the cars built in France at the time. A few years later Peugeot released 6-cylinder and 2-cylinder engines and opened a new plant in Sochaux. It was also in the 1910s that the company made a name for itself in racing.
In 1913, Peugeot won the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the French GP as well as the Vanderbilt cup two years later. World War I would cause a halt in vehicle production as the company began making military vehicles and firearms. Peugeot would resume car production in 1919. The 1920s saw a return to the races for Peugeot and even a few wins.
It was also in the 20s that the company introduced the very popular Type 153. In 1929, the 201 would hit the market, becoming the first car without the word Type in its name. As the 30s rolled around, the company launched a few more models including the 402, 302 and 202.
Peugeot 1940 -1980
In 1941, the company produced the VLV, a small electric car that was largely seen as a solution to fuel restrictions. But once again, production of vehicles was stopped because of the Second World War . Regular production resumed in 1946 with the launch of the 203, whose sales remained very strong until the 1960s.
The 50s saw a slowed production of new vehicles with the company choosing to instead focus on selling existing models. The 403 and the 404 proved very successful models at the time, even winning the East African Safari Rally for 4 years straight from 1963-1968. In 1974, Peugeot bought 30% stake in Citroen.
One year later, the company took over Citroen completely, forming Peugeot Societe Anonyme, a group that allowed both companies to retain their individual identities. By the end of the 70s, Peugeot also controlled the Maserati Brand, but would let it go in later years.
Peugeot 1980 – Present Day
Throughout the 80s the company continued to launch numerous vehicles including the famous 205 mini. The Mini in particular was instrumental in helping the company remain profitable though the decade. This model won various awards for handling, driver comfort and design. As the 90s rolled in, the company began to experience some problems in US and Canada, forcing it to halt production in both countries.
By 2000 car sales had dropped significantly and the company had no choice but to close the Ryton Manufacturing plant in 2006. The Peugeot family reduced their stake in the company from 25% to 14% a move that was seen largely as an attempt to help the company recover.
Classic Peugeots are still widely considered very valuable. If you can get your hands on one, we may have the perfect customized number plate for your classic car.