The Birth Of Peugeot: A Look At The Company’s Early Years

When it comes to automotive history, few names are as iconic as Peugeot. Today, the French automaker is known for its innovative designs, cutting-edge technology, and a rich heritage that spans over a century. However, like all great stories, Peugeot’s journey began with a modest origin. In this article, we will delve into the early years of Peugeot, exploring the company’s inception, the people behind its creation, and the factors that set it on the path to becoming an automotive legend.

The Birth Of The Peugeot Family Business

The story of Peugeot starts in the early 19th century in the small village of Hérimoncourt, located in the Franche-Comté region of France. It was here that Jean-Pierre Peugeot, a miller, and his two sons, Jean-Pierre II and Jean-Frédéric, laid the foundation of the Peugeot family business. Initially, the Peugeot family operated a grain mill, producing flour and tools.

Diversification Into Steel Production

In 1810, the Peugeot family made a pivotal decision that would shape their future. They ventured into the world of steel production, a move driven by the demand for high-quality steel for tools and equipment. This diversification marked the beginning of Peugeot’s transformation from a small-scale grain mill into a significant player in the industrial sector.

Armand Peugeot: The Automotive Visionary

The true turning point in Peugeot’s history came with the arrival of Armand Peugeot, the grandson of Jean-Pierre II. Armand had a vision that extended beyond the realm of steel production. He was captivated by the burgeoning automobile industry and saw its potential. In 1889, he established “Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot,” marking the company’s official entry into the automotive world.

The First Peugeot Car: The Type 2

In 1890, Armand Peugeot unveiled the peugeot first car, known as the “Type 2.” This steam-powered vehicle was a modest beginning, but it marked Peugeot’s commitment to innovation and progress. The Type 2 was a tricycle with a steam engine, capable of reaching a top speed of 12 km/h. While it may seem rudimentary by today’s standards, it was a pioneering effort in the nascent automotive industry.

The Transition To Internal Combustion Engines

Steam power was just the starting point for Peugeot. Recognizing the limitations of steam, the company made a strategic shift to internal combustion engines. In 1896, they introduced their first gasoline-powered car, the “Type 7.” This marked a significant step forward, as gasoline engines offered greater efficiency and convenience compared to steam.

Racing Success And Innovation

Peugeot’s commitment to performance and innovation was showcased on the racing circuit. The company’s participation in early motorsports events helped them refine their engineering and gain recognition. Notably, in 1913, Peugeot achieved a historic victory at the Indianapolis 500, solidifying their reputation as a formidable automotive manufacturer.

World War I And Beyond

The outbreak of World War I brought challenges and disruptions to Peugeot’s production, as the company shifted its focus to support the war effort. However, the post-war period saw Peugeot resume its civilian production, introducing new models and expanding its market reach.

Peugeot’s Enduring Legacy

Today, Peugeot stands as one of the oldest and most respected automobile manufacturers in the world. From its humble beginnings as a grain mill in Hérimoncourt, the company has evolved into a global automotive giant. With a legacy of innovation, quality, and a commitment to excellence, Peugeot continues to produce cars that captivate drivers around the world.


The birth of Peugeot is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and vision of the Peugeot family, particularly Armand Peugeot. From a small village in France to the global stage, Peugeot’s journey is one of determination, innovation, and adaptation. The company’s early foray into the automotive industry laid the groundwork for its future success, and today, Peugeot remains a symbol of French automotive excellence, with a history that is as rich as the cars it produces.