Peugeot has stayed in business for 200 years and its run of success is far from over. The French automaker has withstood the test of time. Upon reflection of the era of its founding, the Battle of Watereloo had not yet been fought and there were no locomotives connecting the East to the West with passenger service. It was a time before automobiles raced down the roads and there were no roads other than worn trails in the earth.
An era of new beginnings
It was during this period in time when Peugeot bought an old grain factory and converted it to the steel mill necessary to make the household items that they would produce and market. This soon evolved with a progression that included sewing machines, coffee grinders, the steel for hooped dresses, saw blades, and bicycles among other items. When Armand made the acquaintance of Gottlieb Daimler, he saw the future of the automobile and sensed that he would play a role in its development. Together, the two, along with designere Leon Serpollet made the first Peugeot automobile powered by steam and rolling on three wheels. After a road trip from Paris to Lyons, production of Daimler’s petrol vehicles ensued.
The beginning of a new age
In 1891 five examples of Peugeot’s Daimler designs were produced. This was followed with 29 additional vehicles the following year and by 1899, an additional 300 were made. The famed automaker Charles Royce himself was the owner of an early Peugeot. At the turn of the century, the vehicles sported pneumatic tires compliments of Michelin, rack and pinion steering and the former tiller steering was replaced with a steering wheel that was an early forerunner of the system that would modernize transportation.
Enter the racing era
Peugeot entered the racing scene in 1912 with the first racing cars powered by a double overhead cam and four cylinder engines. The new age of motorsports had begun. It would evolve into an age of automotive competition to build the fastest and highest performing racing automobiles to win the distinction of placing first in competition auto racing in Europe that would soon spread throughout the world.
Paying homage to the history
How is 200 years in the automotive industry celebrated? For Peugeot, it comes in the form of a reorganization. Each new era brings about its own set of challenges and the automaker is taking the new problems head on with a forwards progression into the 21st century with production of a diesel/electric hybrid. It started with the production of their 3008 hybrid released in 2011. This was followed by a new generation of battery powered lines with the introduction of the Ultra Motor bicycle dubbed the E-vivacity electric scooter. This was followed with Peugeot’ss BB1 four seat. The brand also expanded into more capitals throughout Europe with rentals of bicycles to motorized scooters, cars and accessories being offered. This gives a nod to its earliest line of transportation modes, prior to the great racing machines that followed.
Other adjustments in celebration of Peugeot’s 200th year include the new aesthetic of the SR1 concept car. It’s a model that is purpose driven with the charge of establishing the emblem of the future for Peugeot to capture the essence of the Peugeot experience and set new standards from which elements may be gleaned for a new cohesion for branding, recognition and modern elements that exceed expectations in the generations of road vehicles to come.
The emblem as a symbol representing the history and the future
The firsts emblem was crafted by Julian Blazer in 1847, prior to production of automobiles, but fitting for cutting blades and saws. Emile Peugeot ensured the registration of the iconic lion in 1858, which would be prominently displayed on the 1906 autos. The evolution of the lion would continue with beginning with the creature walking on an arrow, then next, a snarling version was presented, followed by the heraldic lion in 1952, with the leaper in 1968 and the big bonnet lion in 1995. In a 150 year time span, 10 lions had been designed and redesigned. The new version of the lion features a dark blue background typography which is totally new, with a bimetallic effect in a simpler lion. This is the symbol that will carry Peugeot forward into the future until the need for further change arises.
An eye towards the future
Peugeot has made it and done so in grand style for more than 200 years. It’s been accomplished by constantly looking ahead and being bold enough to bring modern elements into the mix while maintaining a few recognizable iconic features that tie the future with the rich and significant history of the automaker. It’s earned a place in history that demands its inclusion in the future.