August 6, 1991 – Peugeot leaves North America

French automaker Peugeot an faced sales hardship in the US and Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This resulted in the release of the Peugeot 405 for 1987 as a last ditch effort by the company to remain viable in North America. It proved unsuccessful, selling less than 1,000 units. When total Peugeot sales only hit 4,261 in 1990 and 2,240 between January and July of the following year, the company decided to pull the plug on the US and Canadian markets after 33 years. The fateful announcement was made on this day in 1991.

What is the history of Peugeot?

AboveL 1913 Peugeot Phaeton. By haitham alfalah. Top: Peugeot 405. By Ehsanpsa – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The original Peugeot company was a steel foundry founded in 1810. At that time they made hand tools, kitchen equipment and later bicycles. The first Peugeot car, a three-wheeled steam powered vehicle designed by Leon Serpollet, appeared in 1889. The company built four examples. The next year Peugeot turned its focus to internal combustion vehicles. By 1892 the company was producing nearly 30 cars per year. In 1899 Peugeot built 300 automobiles.

In the years following, Peugeot became heavily involved in motorsports, a tradition it continues today. Among the brands major victories are wins at the Indy 500 in 1913, 1916, and 1919, five World Rally Championships (1985, 1986, 2000, 2001, 2002), seven Dakar Rally wins (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2016, 2017, 2018), and three overall wins at the 24 hours of Le Mans (1992, 1993, 2009). The company has also claimed three Pikes Peak International Hill Climb victories, which came in 1988, 1989 and 2013.

1934 Peugeot Pourtout. By Kévin Pourtout – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

In 2020 Peugeot announced a merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with the new company being called Stellantis. Beyond Fiat, Chrysler and Peugeot, Stellantis owns many automakers, including Citroën, Jeep, Maserati, Lancia and Alfa Romeo.

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