From New World Encyclopedia
Peugeot S.A.
Concept car Peugeot Oxia
Type Public
Founded 1882
Headquarters Sochaux, France
Key people Christian Streiff (CEO), Jerome Gallix (Head Design)
Industry Auto and Truck Manufacturers
Products Peugeot 207, Peugeot 308, Peugeot 807, Peugeot 206,etc.
Revenue Green Arrow Up Darker.svg56.3 billion (2005)
Net income Green Arrow Up Darker.svg1.0 billion (2005)
Employees 207,200 (2005) PSA Group


Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën. It is the second largest automaker in Europe, behind Volkswagen. Peugeot's roots go back to bicycle manufacturing at the end of the 19th century. Its headquarters are in Paris, Avenue de la Grande Armée, close to Porte Maillot and the Concorde Lafayette Hotel. The Pergeot product has played a significant role in helping to improve transport and communication in France, its country of origin, as well as throughout the world. Although the internal combustion engine's contribution to climate change is problematic, manufacturers such as Peugeot take their corporate social responsibility seriously and have introduced measures to reduce harmful emissions and also to make the production process more ecologically sustainable.

Company history

Early history

Peugeot Limousine 1908
Peugeot Type 127 Torpedo 1910
Peugeot Phaeton 1920

Although the Peugeot factory had been in the manufacturing business since the 1700s,[1] their entry into the world of wheeled vehicles was by means of crinoline dresses, which used steel rods, leading to umbrella frames, wire wheels, and ultimately bicycles.[2] Armand Peugeot introduced the Peugeot "Le Grand Bi" penny-farthing, in 1882, and a range of bicycles. Peugeot bicycles have been built until very recently, although the car company and bike company parted ways in 1926.

Armand Peugeot became very interested in the automobile early on, and after meeting with Gottlieb Daimler and others was convinced of its viability. The first Peugeot automobile (a three-wheeled steam-powered car designed by Léon Serpollet) was produced in 1889; only four were made.[3] Steam power was heavy and bulky and required lengthy warmup running. In 1890, after meeting Gottlieb Daimler and Emile Levassor, steam was abandoned in favor of a four-wheeler, with a petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine built by Panhard under Daimler license.[4] It was more sophisticated than many of its contemporaries, with three-point suspension and sliding-gear transmission.[5]

Further cars followed, twenty-nine being built in 1892. These early models were given Type numbers with the Type 12, for example, dating from 1895. Peugeot became the first manufacturer to fit rubber tires to a petrol-powered car that year (solid tires). Peugeot was also an early pioneer in motor racing, entering the 1894 Paris-Rouen Rally with five cars[6] (placing second, third, and fifth),[7] the 1895 Paris-Bordeaux with three, where they were beaten by Panhards.[8] This also marked the debut of Michelin pneumatic tyres.[9] The vehicles were still very much horseless carriages in appearance and were steered by tiller.

1896 saw the first Peugeot engines built; no longer were they reliant on Daimler. Designed by Rigoulot, this 8hp (6kW) horizontal twin and fitted to the back of the Type 15.[10] It also served as the basis of a nearly exact copy produced by Rochet-Schneider.[11] Further improvements followed: the engine moved to the front on the Type 48 and was soon under a hood (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 Frères to form his own company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot, building a new factory at Audincourt to focus entirely on cars.[12] In 1899, sales hit 300; all of France only saw 1200 cars sold.[13] That year, Lemaitre won the Nice-Castellane-Nice Rally in a special 5850cc (357ci) 20hp (15kW) racer.[14]

At the 1901 Paris Salon, Peugeot debuted a tiny shaft-drive 652cc (40ci) 5hp (3.7kW) one-cylinder, dubbed Bébé (Baby), and shed its conservative image, becoming a styling leader.[15]

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.

The 1907 Salon showed Peugeot's first six-cylinder, the A, and showed Tony Huber joining as engine builder.[16] A much more famous name, Ettore Bugatti, designed the lovely new 850cc four-cylinder Bébé of 1912.[17] The same year, Peugeot returned to racing with a team of three driver-engineers (a breed typical of the pioneer period, exemplified by Enzo Ferrari among others): Jules Goux (graduate of Artes et Metiers Paris), Paolo Zuccarelli (formerly of Hispano-Suiza), and Georges Boillot (collectively called Les Charlatans), with 26 year old Swiss engineer Ernest Henry to make their ideas reality. The company decided voiturette (light car) racing was not enough, and chose to essay grandes épreuves (grand touring). They did so with an engineering tour de force: A DOHC 7.6 liter with four valves per cylinder.[18] It proved supremely fast, and Boillot won the 1912 French Grand Prix at a creditable average of 68.45 mph (110.15 kph), despite losing third gear and suffering a twenty minute pit stop.[19] In May 1913, Goux took one to Indianapolis, and won at an average of 75.92mph (122.17kph), recording straightaway speeds of 93.5 mph (150.5 kph),[20] then taking second in 1915 (driven by Boillot's brother, André), and winning 1916 (Dario Resta) and 1919 (Howdy Wilcox).

During the First World War, Peugeot turned largely to arms production, becoming a major manufacturer of arms and military vehicles, from bicycles to tanks and shells. Postwar, car production resumed in earnest; the car was becoming no longer just a plaything for the rich but accessible to many. 1926, however, saw the cycle (pedal and motor) business separate to form Cycles Peugeot—the consistently profitable cycle division seeking to free itself from the rather more boom-and-bust auto business.

Inter war years

1999 Peugeot 206 front view
1999 Peugeot 206 back view

1929 saw the introduction of the Peugeot 201, the first car to be numbered in what became the Peugeot way—three digits with a central zero, a registered Peugeot trademark. The 201 was also the first mass-produced car with independent front suspension. 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 the following year, a car with a folding, retractable hardtop was introduced, an idea re-iterated by the Ford Skyliner in the 1950s and, revived by the Mercedes SLK in the mid-1990s. More recently, other manufacturers have taken to the idea of a retractable hard-top including Peugeot itself with the 206 cc.

Three interesting models of the thirties were the 202, 302, and 402. These cars had curvaceous bodies, with headlights behind sloping grille bars. The 402 entered production in 1935 and was produced until the end of 1941, despite France's occupation by the Nazis. The 302 ran from 1936-1938. The 202 was built in series from 1938-1942, and about 20 more examples were built from existing stocks of supplies in February 1945. Regular production began again in mid-1946, and lasted into 1949.

Post war

In 1948 the company restarted in the car business, with the Peugeot 203. More models followed, many elegantly styled by the Italian design firm of Pininfarina. The company began selling cars in the United States in 1958. Like many European manufacturers, collaboration with other firms increased: Peugeot worked with Renault from 1966 and Volvo Cars from 1972.

Take over of Citroën and formation of PSA

In 1974 Peugeot bought a 30 percent share of Citroën, and took it over completely in 1975 after the French government gave large sums of money to the new company. Citroën was in financial trouble because it developed too many radical new models for its financial resources. Some of them, notably the Citroën SM and the Comotor rotary engine venture proved unprofitable. Others, the Citroën CX and Citroën GS for example, proved very successful in the marketplace.

The joint parent company became the PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme) group, which aimed to keep separate identities for both Peugeot and Citroën brands, while sharing engineering and technical resources. Peugeot thus briefly controlled the valuable racing brand name Maserati, but disposed of it in May 1975 out of short term financial concerns.

Both Citroën enthusiasts and automotive journalists point out that the company's legendary innovation and flair took a marked downturn with the acquisition. The Citroën brand has continued to be successful in terms of sales, and now achieves over a million units annually.

Take over of Chrysler Europe

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 of 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.

The flagship of this short-lived brand was the Tagora, a direct competitor for PSA's 604 and CX models. This was a large, angular saloon based on Peugeot 505 mechanicals.

All this investment caused serious financial problems for the entire PSA group: PSA lost money from 1980 to 1985. The Peugeot takeover of Chrysler Europe had seen the aging Chrysler Sunbeam, Horizon, Avenger and Alpine ranges rebadged as Talbots. There were also new Talbots in the early 1980s—the Solara (a saloon version of the Alpine hatchback), the Samba (a small hatchback to replace the Sunbeam).

1983 saw the launch of the popular and successful Peugeot 205, which is largely credited for turning the company's fortunes around.

1984 saw the first PSA contacts with The People's Republic of China, resulting in the successful Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile venture in Wuhan.

A red 307 cc (coupé cabriolet), with a folding steel roof

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. The former 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.

As experienced by other European volume car makers, U.S. sales faltered and finally became uneconomic, as the Peugeot 505 design aged. The newly introduced Peugeot 405 proved uncompetitive with models from Japan, and sold less than 1,000 units. Total sales fell to 4,261 units in 1990 and 2,240 through July, 1991. This caused the company to cease U.S. operations after 33 years.

Beginning in the late 1990s, with Jean-Martin Folz as president of PSA, the Peugeot-Citroën combination seems to have found a better balance. Savings in costs are no longer made to the detriment of style.

On April 18, 2006, PSA Peugeot Citroën announced the closure of the Ryton manufacturing facility in Coventry, England. This announcement resulted in the loss of 2,300 jobs as well as about 5,000 jobs in the supply chain. The plant produced its last Peugeot 206 on December 12, 2006, and finally closed down in January 2007.

Peugeot is developing a diesel-electric hybrid version of the Peugeot 307 that can do 80 mpg. It is a 2-door cabriolet and is currently only in the concept stages, but it promises to be one of the most fuel efficient cars in the world if it ever reaches production.


Peugeot were involved in motorsport from the earliest days and entered five cars for the Paris-Rouen Trials in 1894 with one of them, driven by Lemaitre, finishing second. These trials are usually regarded as the first motor sporting competition. Participation in a variety of events continued until World War I. But it was in 1912 that Peugeot made its most notable contribution to motor sporting history when one of their cars, driven by Georges Boillot, won the French Grand Prix at Dieppe. This revolutionary car was powered by a Straight-4 engine designed by Ernest Henry under the guidance of the technically knowledgeable racing drivers Paul Zuccarelli and Georges Boillot. The design was very influential for racing engines as it featured for the first time DOHC and 4 valves per cylinder providing for high engine speeds, a radical departure from previous racing engines which relied on huge displacement for power. In 1913, Peugeots of similar design to the 1912 Grand Prix car won the French Grand Prix at Amiens and the Indianapolis 500. When one of the Peugeot racers remained in the United States during World War I and parts could not be acquired from France for the 1914 season, owner Bob Burma had it serviced in the shop of Harry Arminius Miller by a young mechanic named Fred Offenhauser. Their familiarity with the Peugeot engine was the basis of the famed Miller racing engine, which later developed into the Offenhauser, or "Offy" racing engine.

The company has had much success in international rallying, notably with the durable Peugeot 504, the highly developed four-wheel-drive turbo-charged versions of the Peugeot 205, and more recently the Peugeot 206. The 206 rally car had a dramatic impact on the world rally championship, beating the Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus and Mitsubishi Lancer, cars which had traditionally dominated the sport. The 206 was retired practically unbeaten after several successful years, and replaced with the comparatively disappointing Peugeot 307 cc.

Throughout the mid-1990s, the Peugeot 406 saloon (called a sedan in some countries) contested touring car championships across the world, enjoying dominant success in France, Germany and Australia, yet failing to win a single race in the highly-regarded British Touring Car Championship despite a number of excellent podium finishes under the command of touring car legend Tim Harvey.

The British cars were prepared by Prodrive in 1996, when they sported a red livery, and by MSD in 1997-1998, when they wore a distinctive green and gold flame design. Initially the 406's lack of success was blamed on suspension problems, but it is now clear that the team was underfunded and the engine lacked power.

In 2001, Peugeot entered three 406 coupes into the British touring car championship to compete with the dominant Vauxhall Astra coupes. Unfortunately the 406 coupe was at the end of its product life-cycle and was not competitive, despite some flashes of form towards the end of the year, notably when Peugeot's Steve Soper led a race only to suffer engine failure in the last few laps. The 406 coupes were retired at the end of the year and replaced with the Peugeot 307—again, non-competitively—in 2002.

Peugeot won the Manufacturers title of the World Rally Championship in 1985 and 1986 with its 205 T16. They won the manufacturers' championship again in 2000, 2001, and 2002 with the 206. Peugeot won the grueling Paris Dakar Rally each year from 1987 to 1990.

In the 1990s, the company competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours race, winning in 1992 and 1993 with the 905. It will be back in 2007, with the 908 powered by a diesel engine. Peugeot are also involved with the Courage C60 Le Mans racing team.

The company has also been involved in providing engines to Formula One teams, notably McLaren in 1994, Jordan for the 1995, 1996 and 1997 seasons, and Prost for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 seasons. Peugeot's F1 interests were sold to Asiatech at the end of the 2000 season.

Peugeot and corporate social responsibility

As a company, Peugeot Citroen has taken the concept of corporate social responsibility seriously. Given the negative effect of the internal combustion engine on the environment and on climate change, the company has built "social and environmental standards into its manufacturing strategy" since 2003. This policy is "designed to bring about compliance with the UN Global Compact's ten principles and the International Labour Organisation's recommendations for good practice."[21] In response to environmental concern, the company has reduced the "atmospheric emissions" of its vehicles, and has also introduced various recycling and environmentally friendly practices, such as using less water and recycling 96 percent of waste at its plants around the world.[22]

Peugeot model numbers

Peugeot chooses the names used on its models in the form x0y or x00y, where x describes the size of the car (and hence its class) and y describes the model number (the higher the number, the newer the model). Thus a Peugeot 406 is bigger and newer than a Peugeot 305. This rule has its exceptions: For instance the Peugeot 309 was produced before the Peugeot 306—the out-of-step number signified the 309's Talbot underpinnings rather than it coming from a Peugeot lineage. Variants are also excluded: The 206 SW, for example, is about the same length as a "40y" car.

This tradition began in 1929, with the launch of the 201, which followed the 190. All numbers from 101 to 909 have been deposited as trademarks. Although in 1963, Porsche was forced to change the name of its new 901 coupé to 911, certain Ferraris and Bristols have been allowed to keep their Peugeot-style model numbers. An unsubstantiated explanation for the central "0" is that on early models the number appeared on a plate on the front of the car, with the hole for the starting handle coinciding with the zero. More recently, on the 307 cc and the 607, the button to open the trunk is located in the "0" of the label.

For specific niche models such as minivans or SUVs, Peugeot is now using a four digit system, with a double zero in the middle. It was tested with the 4002 concept car. The 1007 used this system when it was launched in 2005, and the upcoming Peugeot Crossover SUV is named 4007.

Peugeot has also announced that after the 9 series, it would start again with 1, producing new 201, 301, or 401.

Peugeot has produced three winners of the European Car of the Year award.

1969: Peugeot 504
1988: Peugeot 405
2002: Peugeot 307

Other Peugeot models have come either second or third in the contest.

1980: Peugeot 505
1984: Peugeot 205
1996: Peugeot 406
1999: Peugeot 206

Other products

Peugeot also makes power tools, knives, pepper, and salt grinders.

Peugeot also produced bicycles starting in 1882 in Beaulieu, France (with ten Tour de France wins between 1903 and 1983) followed by motorcycles and cars in 1889. In the late 1980s Peugeot sold the North American rights to the Peugeot bicycle name to ProCycle in Canada (also known as CCM and better known for its ice hockey equipment) and the European rights to Cycleurope S.A.

Peugeot remains a major producer of scooters and mopeds in Europe.


The common French pronunciation of "Peugeot" is pø:'ʒo (using the IPA). In the South of England, it is usually pronounced "PERzho" (IPA 'pɜːʒəʊ), while Americans and other English-speakers pronounce it "pooZHO" (IPA puː'ʒoʊ) or "PYOOzho" ('pjuːʒoʊ). Peugeot and Peugeot cars have also gained the nicknames of 'pug' and 'pugs' in the UK. In Malta some people pronounce "Peugeot" as PUGU.

Vehicle models


  • 104, 106, 107
  • 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207
  • 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309
  • 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407
  • 504, 505
  • 601, 604, 605, 607, 608
  • 802, 806, 807
  • 905, 907, 908
  • 1007
  • 4007

Concept cars

  • 607 Feline
  • Quark
  • 907 RC
  • 908 RC
  • 307 cc Hybrid HDi.
  • 4002
  • Peugeot 20Cup
  • Peugeot 308 RC Z


  • Type 15
  • Peugeot D3A
  • Peugeot D4A
  • Peugeot J7
  • Peugeot J9 minibus
  • Peugeot J5
  • Boxer
  • Expert
  • Partner
  • P4
  • VLV
  • Peugeot Boxer minibus
  • Peugeot Pars (also known as Persia)


Peugeot on TV/movies

  • A Peugeot 403 convertible was driven by Lieutenant Columbo on the TV series Columbo.
  • In the movie Ronin, a Peugeot 406 driven by Robert De Niro is used in the finale car chase through Paris.
  • In the series of Taxi movies, the souped-up taxi is a Peugeot 406, replaced by a Peugeot 407 in the later film. Peugeot also supply a lot of the police vehicles.
  • In the 2002 movie, The Transporter, the majority of the Police cars are Peugeot 307s and one 607.
  • In the movie The Squid And The Whale Jeff Daniels' character, Bernard Berkman, drives a Peugeot.
  • In the Australian version of Deal or No Deal, it featured a 307 to be won to which briefcase number to win it
  • In an episode of the British comedy Absolutely Fabulous, Patsy and Edina are seen driving a Peugeot 205 rental car on their French holiday.
  • At the Melbourne International Motor Show a Scottish stunt driver demonstrates the technical abilities of Peugeots.
  • In the 1985 Arthur Penn film Target, Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon hire a brand new Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6 in Paris, France.
  • In episode 27 of the Super Sentai series, Mahou Sentai MagiRanger entitled "Our Bonds," Ozu Urara purchased a blue Peugeot 307 convertible when she briefly moved out of the family home.
  • In the 2003 film, Swimming Pool by Francois Ozon, a Peugeot 205 is used by Marcel (Marc Fayolle) to bring Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) from the airport to the villa in the South of France. A Phase 2 Peugeot 106 is also used by Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). When she returns home to the french villa.


  1. Georgano.
  2. Paul Darke, "Peugeot: The Oldest of them All," in Tom Northey (ed.), The World of Automobiles (London: Orbis Publishing, 1974), 1682.
  3. Georgano.
  4. Darke, 1685-6.
  5. Darke, 1683.
  6. Georgano.
  7. Darke, 1683.
  8. Darke, 1684.
  9. Darke, 1684.
  10. Darke, 1684.
  11. Darke, 1684.
  12. Darke, 1684.
  13. Darke, 1684.
  14. Darke, 1684.
  15. Darke, 1685.
  16. Darke, 1685.
  17. Darke, 1685.
  18. Darke, 1686 & 1688.
  19. Darke, 1688.
  20. Darke, 1688.
  21. World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Ethical Cars—Peugeot Citroën’s winding road. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
  22. PSA Peugeot Citroën, Industrial Environment. Retrieved October 17, 2007.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Forbes, Jill, and Michael Kelly. 1995. French Cultural Studies an Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198715009.
  • Georgano, G. N. Vintage Cars, 1886 to 1930. Twickenham: Tiger Books International, 1997. ISBN 9781855019263.
  • Peurgot, Robert. "Robert Peugeot on the New PSA Design Centre, and the Future of the Group's Brand Identity." Automotive Engineer 27: 22-23, 2002 ISSN 0307-6490.
  • Willson, Quentin, and David Selby. The Ultimate Classic Car Book. New York: DK Pub, 1995 ISBN 9780789401595.

External links

All links retrieved November 23, 2022.


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