The Peugeot family founded their first company in 1810 in Sochaux, France. The first products were coffee mills, which can still be found in the family's product portfolio even today. In 1830, production of bicycles started and the first car was manufactured in 1889.
Armand Peugeot, at the time leader of the company, was interested in the automobile from the first days of its invention by Gottlieb Daimler. The very first automobile was a three-wheeled steam-powered contraption designed by Leon Serpollet. Due to its unreliability, only four examples were ever produced. Steam power, bulky and problematic, was abandoned in 1890 after Armand Peugeot met with Daimler and French engineer Émile Constant Levassor.
Steam power was replaced as a means of propulsion by a petrol-fueled internal combustion engine made by Panhard under a Daimler license. One of these early models made its way to Brazil. The Peugeot brand is also known for being the very first to have used rubber tires on a petrol powered vehicle.
The French brand was involved early on in racing. The pilot Albert Lemaître won the world's first motor race, held between Paris and Rouen, in a 3 hp Peugeot. In total, five Peugeot models qualified for the race, all of them finished as a testament to their reliability.
During the First World War production of civilian automobiles was interrupted, with production turning towards military supplies, including armored cars.
After the war, production of civilian cars resumed and Peugeot expanded production to satisfy increased demand. The brand continued to be involved in racing with notable success.
In 1929, the Peugeot 201 was the first to use the now famous trademark - three digits with a central zero. It was also the cheapest car on the French market at the time. The company survived the Great Depression, despite a slump in sales.
During the German occupation, production was reduced but still continued almost uninterrupted, despite all the hardships. After the War, Peugeot's production grew rapidly, with 14.000 202 models being delivered in 1946.
The French manufacturer acquired a 30% stake in Citroën to form the PSA group in 1974. The takeover was completed one year later with the help of the French government.
The financial crisis in 2007-2008 affected PSA Peugeot Citroën who struggled to stay afloat amid a sharp decrease in market share in Europe. In February 2014, the shareholders agreed to a recapitalisation plan, in which Dongfeng Motors, the Chinese partner of PSA on the Chinese market, and the French government each bought a 14% stake in the company.