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Pre-WWI Latil truck
A forest tractor made by Latil in 1937.
Latil truck used by the German Wehrmacht in 1941.

Latil was a French automaker specializing in heavy duty vehicles, such as trucks, tractors and buses, from 1898 to 1955.

History of the Compagnie Latil[edit]

In 1897, Auguste Joseph Frederic Georges Latil patented a system of "broken transmission", allowing the steerable wheels to be also the driving wheels (front-wheel drive).

He exploited his idea through different companies :

  • In 1898 La société Korn et Latil was founded by the engineer Georges Latil and the mechanic Alois Korn in Marseille. They invented a system that could easily replace the steering axle part of horse towed wagons by a fully motorised part.
  • In 1903 the firm moved to Levallois-Perret, changed the name to "Avant-train Latil" and had great success transforming all kinds of horse powered wagons.
  • 1908, Charles Blum joined the company. The company becomes "Compagnie Française de Mécanique et d'Automobile - Avant-Train Latil" and begins to build trucks of 3 tons loading capacity.

Latil TAR[edit]

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In 1911, Latil designed and built its first four-wheel drive vehicle. This type of vehicle interested the French Army in 1913 for its ability to tow heavy artillery on every field and the TAR (Tracteur d'Artillerie Roulante) was built. The buyers of this vehicle could benefit from a 30 percent rebate in compensation for mobilization in case of war.

After World War I, Latil began to build tractors for agriculture and forest exploitation and trucks for civil engineering.


In 1955, Latil was merged with Somua and Renault truck and bus producing operations to form Saviem.

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