Ligier is a French automobile maker created by former racing driver and rugby player Guy Ligier.
The firm entered the automobile business with the Ligier JS2, a mid-engined sports car for the road initially powered by a Ford V6 and from 1971 by the same Maserati V6 engine as the Citroën SM. The JS2 was considered by many as a well designed car with a very good power-to-weight ratio. The final SMs were also produced in the Ligier factory in Vichy. The 1973 energy crisis caused such a decline in the market for the JS2 that production ceased soon after, and the firm changed its focus to microcars, for example, 1984 moped-powered Ligier JS6.
In September 2008, Ligier Automobiles completed its acquisition of Beneteau Group's Microcar division, with financing provided by 21 Investimenti Partners. Phillipe Ligier, son of the company's founder, remains as CEO. The Ligier and Microcar brands are to retain their separate identities and manufacturing facilities. The merger creates Europe's second largest microcar manufacturer (after Daimler's Smart unit, if one considers that a microcar), and largest manufacturer of drivers license-exempt vehicles.
The Ligier model line currently consists of the Ixo line of mini cars, the X-Pro line of small commercial vehicles, and the Be Up/Be Two line of open air, roadster-type vehicles. The company also produces a line of quad bikes and off-road utility vehicles sold as the Be Pro, Be Four, and Be Truck. Ixo or Ambra is about two and a half meters long and has two seats. It is front engine. Power units include two 2 cylinder four stroke diesels of about half a liter displacement and an all electric drive.
Ligier in motorsport
Main article: Equipe Ligier
Ligier is best known for its Formula One team that operated from 1976 to 1996. Ligier entered Formula One in 1976 with a Matra V12-powered car, and won a Grand Prix with Jacques Laffite in 1977.
Ligier also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1970 to 1975.