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Mécanique Aviation Traction
Industry Automotive
Founded 1964
Founders Jean-Luc Lagardère
Marcel Chassagny
Defunct 2003
Headquarters Romorantin-Lanthenay, France
Products Sports cars
Website Edit this on Wikidata

Mécanique Aviation Traction or Matra was a French company covering a wide range of activities mainly related to automobiles, bicycles, aeronautics and weaponry. In 1994, it became a subsidiary of the Lagardère Group and now operates under that name.

Matra was owned by the Floirat family. The name Matra became famous in the 1960s when it went into car production by buying Automobiles René Bonnet. Matra Automobiles produced successful racing cars and sports cars.

Lagardère's involvement[edit]

By merging with various companies, Matra's CEO, Jean-Luc Lagardère, built a group around Matra diversified in media, weaponry, state of the art technology, aeronautics and formerly in automobiles and records production and distribution. Matra was privatized in 1988, with Lagardère holding 6% of the stock and by 1992, 25%.

In 1992 the Lagardère Group was radically restructured; acquiring more shares in Matra from Floirat, Daimler Benz and GEC, and Hachette from Floirat, Crédit Lyonnais and Aberly. Lagardère merged Matra and Hachette to form Matra Hachette, of which Lagardère Group held 37.6%. Following a share swap in 1994 Lagardère held 93.3% of Matra Hachette's stock. In 1996 Matra Hachette was formally merged into Lagardère.

Matra Hautes Technologies[edit]

Matra Hautes Technologies (MHT) was the defence arm of Matra. The company was involved in aerospace, defence and telecommunications. In February 1999 MHT merged with Aérospatiale to form Aérospatiale-Matra. On July 10, 2000 Aérospatiale-Matra became part of EADS.

Divisions (as of Aérospatiale merger)[edit]

Weapons produced[edit]

Matra road cars[edit]

Matra 530
Matra Bagheera

The company was created following the acquisition of the brand Automobiles René Bonnet in 1964 by Jean-Luc Lagardere and disappeared in 2003

The Matra name was first used for road cars with the Renault-powered Matra Djet (pronounced "jet"), which was an update of the Bonnet Jet, the Djet was replaced with the Matra 530, Bagheera, the Murena and the Rancho, an early type of sport utility vehicle (SUV).

In 1984 Renault launched the Matra built Espace minivan, the car was a success.

After the discontinuation of the Renault Avantime (co-designed and built by Matra), on February 27, 2003, Matra announced its intention to close its automobile factory in Romorantin-Lanthenay a month later.

In September 2003, Pininfarina SpA acquired Matra Automobile's engineering, testing and prototype businesses. The company was subsequently named Matra Automobile Engineering. On January 13, 2009, Pininfarina sold its share in Matra Automobile Engineering to Segula Technologies.

Street models[edit]


In the mid-1960s Matra enjoyed considerable success in Formula 3 and Formula 2 racing with (especially) its MS5 monocoque-based car, winning the French and European championships. Matra competed as a constructor in Formula One from 1967 to 1972 and as an engine supplier between 1975 to 1982, winning the drivers' and constructors' championships in 1969.

Matra also competed in sports car racing from 1966 to 1974 winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972, 1973 and 1974 and the World Championship for Makes in 1973 and 1974.


Matra sponsored Racing Club de France in 1987~1989

Other activities[edit]


  1. ^ "MATRA - Véhicules Légers Electriques". 2012-08-23. Archived from the original on 2008-06-13.

External links[edit]