Café de Flore

The history of two iconic French car brands

France is one of the major car producing countries in the EU and the world. The country is the birthplace of some of the most iconic car brands in history. Two of these are Renault and Peugeot.


Renault was founded in December 1898 by Louis Renault who created the first Renault Voiturette. The ingenious tri-wheel car was fitted with a direct drive transmission. The innovative technology allowed Louis to woo people into buying the car and thus he sold 12 cars on the same night he first took it for a drive. The Voiturette went on to win various motorsports races increasing its popularity and sales.

The French manufacturer not only contributed to the passenger vehicle market but was also involved in making trucks, tanks, ambulances, taxis and aircraft engines, especially during World War 1. The wide experience gained was used to make better vehicles like the 4CV that became the first French vehicle to have over one million examples.

The U.S became the primary market for Renault vehicles after the Second World War with nearly half of the cars being exported there. Other iconic Renault produced cars like the Renault 4, Renault 5, and the Formula 1 capable RS01 impressed the world with their versatility. In 1984, Renault created the first MPV called the Espace which paved the way for the “family car” category.

Renault is the parent company of Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors and holds a healthy alliance with the Japanese auto manufacturer Nissan. Working together with these brands gave Renault an edge over its competitors.

Presently, Renault and its subsidiaries combined are offering 45 models that are available in 125 countries across the world fitting needs of all kinds of customers.


Automaking wasn’t always Peugeot brand’s main vocation. The French company started as a family business in the early 19th century. Initially, they started to make coffee, later transitioned into making bicycles, and then finally formulated as a car manufacturer. The business started in Sochaux, France where it retains a functional plant to this day. Initially, Peugeot had a limited presence in the car market but the brand’s vehicles are now spread worldwide.

Armand Peugeot, the founder of the company, built the first Peugeot motor car in collaboration with Leon Serpollet in 1889. The 1889 steam powered three-wheeled car was presented at the World Fair in Paris and was soon succeeded by a car having an internal combustion petrol engine in 1890.

Over the years, Peugeot kept on developing and enhancing their brand with better vehicles. In 1968, Peugeot rolled out the Peugeot 504, which still holds the record of being Peugeot’s longest produced model with 3,700,000 units sold and the accolade of being European Car of The Year in 1969.

Like the 504, many other Peugeot cars made their presence known over a period of 200 years. The 104, 604, 205, 405, 406, and 206 are the pioneers of their respective categories and the pride of the Peugeot brand. Recently, the 3008 SUV won the Car of The Year award being the first SUV to have this distinction.

Presently, the French automaker has a wide range of vehicles from sedans and SUVs to vans and sports cars that are reasonably priced and reliable. While you might find it hard to pronounce the brand name you won’t find it difficult to buy one since it is available in 160 countries.  Peugeot 208 was the the most sold car model in Denmark in 2017,