Peugeot Motor Company


The Peugeot 206 model, made at Ryton

The Peugeot name goes back to 1810 in France, when the Peugeot family of the Sous-Cratet region began producing steel strips and springs out of a small mill.

By 1882, Peugeot began making cycles, which by 1889, became known as the “lion” model, a trademark that would stay with the company from that point onwards. The first Peugeot car was developed in 1890 powered by a Daimler engine, and five years later, the first Peugeot car was exhibited in England, at the agricultural showground at Tunbridge wells.

At the same time, the city of Coventry was embarking on the motor industry, initially making copies of European designs. Coventry was to become the home of the British motor industry, becoming the base of many very famous names in the trade. By the 1930s, the rootes group had taken over a number of British motor companies including the Humber Company and Hillman Motor Co. of Coventry. In preparation for the Second World War, rootes built a shadow factory at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, which by the conclusion of war in 1945, became one of the group’s main plants.

In 1967 it became part of the Chrysler Europe operations, and by 1978 became the first plants in Britain to assemble Peugeot cars. In 1984 the company became the Peugeot-Talbot motor company, and the following year, the very first car with a Peugeot badge was built at ryton – the Peugeot 309 model.

UK manufacturing of Peugeot’s continued through the 1990s, with the introduction of the 306 and 405 models, and later, the 206. Steadily, Peugeot increased its share of the UK market to some 8% (167,000 a year) – the biggest market for Peugeots outside France.

Peugeot became a large employer in Coventry, but sadly the plant closed in 2007. The huge Ryton plant was demolished soon after.