Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peugeot 204

Peugeot 404

The Peugeot 204 is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Peugeot between 1965 and 1976. The 204, known in development as Project D12,[1] was available in many body styles including a sedan/saloon/berline, convertible/cabriolet, coupe, estate/wagon, and a van. It was launched in Paris, France on 23 April 1965 and became the best-selling car in France from 1969 to 1971.

The 204 used a front-wheel drive layout and was launched with a single overhead cam 1130 cc gasoline engine (the maximum allowed for the 6CV 'car tax' class in France). In September 1975, less than a year before production ceased, it received a more modern petrol engine, now of 1127 cc. Claimed maximum output, which at launch had been 53 bhp (39 kW), increased to 59 bhp (43 kW), though there was a marginal reduction in maximum torque. Following the demise of the 204 the new 1127 cc engine found its way into a version of the Peugeot 304 estate: the smaller engine enjoyed in France tax benefits when compared to the 1290 cc engines fitted to most 304s.

For certain export markets engine compression ratios and power on the petrol/gasoline engines were reduced in order to accommodate lower octane fuels. Towards the end of 1968 a 1255 cc diesel engine option became available for the 204 estate and fourgonette (van) versions. At the time, this is thought to have been the smallest diesel engine fitted in a commercially available car anywhere in the world. In April 1973 the diesel unit was increased in size to 1357 cc, and in September 1975 this diesel unit finally became an option on the 204 saloon. However, out of the approximately 150,000 diesel 204s produced, fewer than 30,000 were saloons. Until the early 1980s when Volkswagen started heavy promotion of their diesel-engined Golf / Rabbit, and unless cars were large enough to be used as taxis, most European customers for saloon cars avoided diesel engines.

When the Peugeot 204 was launched in 1965, obvious domestic market competitors were the Renault 10 and the Simca 1300. Both were rear-wheel-drive, and the Renault was rear-engined. Of the traditionally more avant garde competitors, Citroën produced, till 1970, only cars that were substantially smaller or substantially larger while Panhard, starved of product investment, had retreated into a low volume niche, offering a model which would soon be withdrawn in order to free up production capacity for small Citroën vans. For Peugeot, a traditional manufacturer of conventional bourgeois sedans, to launch a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive saloon, was startling: no secret was made of the extent to which the 204 had been inspired by British developments.

 The Peugeot was the same length as the Renault 10 and over 20 cm shorter than the Simca 1300, but its configuration conferred a clear space advantage, as subsequent model introductions from Simca in 1967 and Renault in 1970 appeared to acknowledge. Sales of the 204 got off to a cautious start, with no need to compete solely on price: the car was heavily trailed by press leaks so that by the time of its formal announcement over 5,000 had already been ordered unseen. By 1969 the 204 had nonetheless climbed to the top of the French sales charts and, together with the newly introduced 204 based 304, redefined the domestic market for small sedans in the process.

The sales success of the 204 also moved Peugeot from fourth to second place in the French sales charts, overtaking Simca and Citroen in the process. In this case market share seems to have been increased without excessively compromising corporate profitability: the commercial rivals would each suffer a financial collapse, the businesses both coming under the control of Peugeot, within the next ten years.


La Peugeot 204 est une voiture française populaire qui a été produite entre 1965 et 1976 à Sochaux (Doubs). La 204 a été déclinée en plusieurs variantes : berline, break (à partir des modèles 1966), coupé 2+2 places (d'octobre 1966 à mars 1970), cabriolet 2 places (d'octobre 1966 à mars 1970) et fourgonnette (à partir des modèles 1967). Première traction avant de la marque, la 204 a été la voiture la plus vendue en France en 1969, 1970 et 1971

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