Peugeot History

The histories of the Peugeot family and of the company are directly linked to one region: eastern France, Montbeliard. The Lion, the emblem of the make, is also on the coat of arms of Franche-Comté, the birthplace of the family. Peugeot is an industrial adventure, but also a human one. It is the story of a family that was able to adapt to the changes of each age, while retaining a strong social conscience: setting up a savings bank, a mutual help organization; free treatment, insurance, hospitals, schools, a pension system, a 10 hour day, 33 years before it was law.
From the first tricycles to the latest models, the firm with Lion brand rapidly became one of the leading French manufacturers, before entering the international market.


Established in the east of France since the 15th century, the Peugeot family owns much land, on which in the 18th century it builds windmills, and develops weaving, spinning and milling businesses.
Montbeliard, the crossroads of Switzerland, Alsace and Franche-Comté, features abundant water resources and a skilled, industrious workforce. These are the factors that would determine the location of future industrial sites.

In 1810 the brothers Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frédéric Peugeot converted a mill into a steel foundry and plant for manufacturing saw blades, creating the company Peugeot Bros. This is the kick-off for the Peugeot family's industrial vocation. In 1858, the Lion brand is officially registered, activities become more industrialized and diversified: tools for all sorts of trades, household utensils, including the famous coffee grinders, sewing machines and various other items, including the frames for Second Empire crinolines.
Through hard work, tenacity and its innovative capabilities, Peugeot forges its reputation for quality and the robustness of its products.


In 1885 Armand Peugeot sets up bicycle manufacture at the Beaulieu plant. He exhibits the first steam-powered tricycle at the 1889 Paris World Exhibition. That makes Peugeot one of the pioneers of the automobile. The following year Peugeot abandoned steam in favor of petrol.

In 1896 a new company was set up, 'Société des Automobiles Peugeot', devoted exclusively to automobile manufacture. At the same time, the 'Sons of Peugeot Bros' company continued its traditional activities: tools, bicycles and shortly motorcycles, and between 1905 and 1915 a range of light vans called 'Peugeot Lion'.

In 1910 the two firms merged under the name 'Société Anonyme des Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot'. The family then attacked the nascent automobile market.
The aerodynamic design, the symbol of an entire epoch, would influence car design until World War II. At Peugeot, it culminated in the launch of the 402 in 1935.


In 1960 Peugeot changed from being a specialist to a generalist: the production of classic sedans and small models. In 1974 the Peugeot Group acquired control of Citroen. The acquisition of the chevron brand was completed in 1976, giving birth to an automobile group with two distinct makes.

The second oil crisis in 1978 caused a crisis in the automobile industry, following three decades of growth. Peugeot decided to adapt itself without delay to an environment that had profoundly changed. This involved ensuring the long-term survival of the business, and maintaining its independence. Taking over the European subsidiaries of Chrysler and the Talbot adventure shook the company's solidity at the beginning of the 1980's. The success of the 205 and a major restructuring of the organization put Peugeot back on the road to success.

1997 marks the start of a major industrial reorganization, with the adoption of a platform policy and shared industrial tools at Peugeot-Citroen. Each brand retained its name, personality and sales network. That was the beginning of a vast exercise in rejuvenating the range, starting with the 206, followed by the 607, then the 307, and most recently the 407


The logo is the recognizable sign of a Brand, the visual expression of its values and its history. Through the lineage of the Peugeot logos find out about the history of the manufacturer.


The first lion is designed for marking saw blades and steel products. It symbolizes the three qualities of Peugeot saw blades: the toughness of the teeth, the flexibility of the blade, and the speed of the cut. In 1850 the lion image appeared for the first time on the 'Peugeot Bros' arrow. Initially put on saw blades, this logo was registered in 1858, and for many years would mark the tools manufactured by the brand.


1889 was a historic year for the make, with the launch of the first vehicle bearing the Peugeot name: a tricycle, the result of cooperation between Leon Serpollet, the steam expert, and Armand Peugeot. The lion is still shown on tools and cycles. On the other hand, it was missing from the first cars manufactured between 1890 and 1905. To mark these products, Armand Peugeot, who had founded the company Automobiles Peugeot made do with the words 'Automobiles Peugeot' on the radiators. Between 1905 and 1915, the profile of a lion on an arrow was, however, present on the 'Lion Peugeot' cars manufactured by Peugeot Bros.


Following the merger in 1910 of the cycle and automobile activities, the company 'Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot' would just put the old PEUGEOT on its cars. On some models 'unofficial' lions made their appearance: the Baudichon lion (1923) and the Marx lion (1925), named after their sculptors, are true works of art. One had to wait until 1933 for a more realistic lion to adorn the bonnets of models made at the plant.


The heraldic lion made its appearance on the 203. It is rearing up on its hind legs, to adopt the familiar posture of the lion on the coat of arms of Franche-Comté, birthplace of the business.


Having become a holding company under the name Peugeot S.A., the make changes the logo: just the lion's head is retained on a triangular shield. Three years later the lion head is framed in a square, making a brand sign as it is today. The cars' radiator grills in the meantime continue to sport the heraldic lion.


In 1976 a new structure, the PSA Peugeot-Citroen holding company, brings together the two makes, Peugeot and Citroen. The Group then purchased Chrysler Corporation. There were so many happenings to disturb the identity of the Peugeot brand. To reinforce its image, Peugeot has come back to its heraldic lion, with a refined design: it's the so-called 'Lion fil'. The best ambassador of this new, visual identity would be the 205, sold successfully since 1983.


The visual identity of Peugeot changes again: the paws, added in the same scale, reinforce the power and balance of this feline; the blue, piercing eye symbolizes the long-term vision of the make. The lion is now complete and metallized to apply to the brand's values (sure, dynamic, esthetic), and is included in the design of its latest models.


Now called the 'Blue Brand', the logo changes again to better reflect the Peugeot brand's ambitions. Still complete and metallized, it has had black added to the blue to show the lion's shadow. Balanced in shape and proportions, the logo and the car Brand are by now indivisible: unity creates strength.