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Peugeot is a major French automobile brand with a long and distinguished history. The company’s first car appeared in 1889, making Peugeot the oldest continuous car brand on the market and the second oldest car manufacturer.
The Peugeot family’s industrial endeavours began in a converted flour mill in 1810. Throughout the 19th century, Peugeot produced and exported a range of products, from umbrella frames to bicycles. The iconic lion symbol that still represents the company today was introduced in 1858.
In 1896, Armand Peugeot - the driving force behind the company’s interest in car production – broke away from the family firm and created his own company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot. By 1903, his factory was producing half of all cars built in France.
Peugeot’s hugely successful involvement in motor racing began around this time, most notably with a win in the 1912 French Grand Prix. The winning Peugeot car featured four camshafts and four valves per cylinder, a design that revolutionized the construction of racing engines.
Throughout the 20th century, Peugeot designers continued to build their reputation as industry innovators with a series of ‘firsts’, including the first electrically retractable hard top roof on the Peugeot 307 Coupe Cabriolet in 1934 and the first turbocharged diesel engine the 1979 604 model.
By 1978, Peugeot had acquired the Citroen and Chrysler companies. Both takeovers involved huge outlays, resulting in a period of financial difficulty for the newly-named PSA Peugeot Citroen in the early 1980s. The company was revived by the release of the 205 in 1983, one of Peugeot’s best-sellers and CAR Magazine’s Car of the Decade in 1990.
Peugeot has continued to export a range of vans, motorcycles and cars to Australia and around the world, including the popular Peugeot 206 and 307 models. In 2002, the 307 became the third Peugeot vehicle to win the European Car of the Year Award.