Peugeot 201

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Peugeot 201
Peugeot 201 1930 04.JPG
Manufacturer Peugeot SA
Production 1929-1937
142,309 units
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
other bodies available
Layout FR layout
Engine 1085 cc - 1465cc
straight four
Wheelbase 247 cm (97.2 in)
Length 3,800 mm (149.6 in)
Width 1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Curb weight 890 kg (1,962 lb)
Predecessor Peugeot Type 190
Successor Peugeot 202
The 201 was typical of many western European family saloons in the way that during the 1930s the standard body was redesigned to incorporate new ideas on streamlining

The Peugeot 201 is a car that Peugeot produced between 1929 and 1937.

The car was built at the company's Sochaux plant near the Swiss frontier, and is today celebrated in the adjacent Peugeot museum. Although Peugeot had produced a petrol/gasoline powered motor vehicle as early as 1886, it is reasonable to see the 201 as the company's first volume model.[1]


The 201 was presented at the 1929 Paris Motor Show as the Wall Street Crash burst upon the world. Many European manufacturers would not survive the shock waves emanating from New York, but the compact no-nonsense 201 would match the mood of the moment, enabling Peugeot to survive the economic crisis with its finances intact and its status as a major league auto producer confirmed.[2]


During the 1930s Peugeot offered several variants of the 201, and the engine capacity grew.

Initially, it was powered by a 1122 cc engine developing 23 horsepower (17 kW) at 3500 rpm (top speed: 80 km/h / 50 mph). There followed an engine of 1307 cc, and finally a 1465 cc unit of 35 hp (26 kW).

The 201C launched in 1931 is claimed as the first volume produced car equipped with independent front suspension, a concept rapidly adopted by the competition. The simpler beam front axle version continued available, but the independent system reportedly improved road holding and reduced steering column vibration.

The name game[edit]

In the early decades of the twentieth century automakers paid very little attention to the naming of their cars. The 201's predecessor, the Type 190 is so named, at least in retrospect, because it was the 190th distinct design developed by Peugeot. However, at the time few customers would have been aware of the name "Type 190". Even in the company's own brochures, the car now remembered as the Type 190 was simply called "La 5CV Peugeot" (The Peugeot 5 hp).

For Peugeot things changed when the Type 190 gave way to the Peugeot 201.[3] The 201 was the first Peugeot to carry a name comprising three numerals with a central zero. Peugeot took effective steps to protect all such automobile names, to the discomfiture of Porsche in the 1960s as they prepared to launch their iconic new 901 model. Curiously, having a Ferrari 308 was not a problem.

Light commercials[edit]

Between 1931 and 1933 the company produced 1,676 commercial versions of the 201, aimed at small shopkeepers and other businessmen. A wide range of body types was produced including a little flatbed truck, a "bakers' van" and light vans with and without side windows behind the B-pillar.

During the early 1930s panel van and light truck versions of the Peugeot 201 were also produced.


  1. ^ "1929 : 201". Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  2. ^ "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1932 (salon [Paris, Oct] 1931): Comme tous constructeurs français, Peugeot souffre de la dépression économique mondiale et ses cadences de production s’effondrent. [...] Malgré ce ralentissement sensible de son activité en 1932, Peugeot traverse la crise sans trop de dommages grâce à la 201 dont le caractère économique devient un argument déterminant dans cette période difficile. (Paris: Histoire & collections). Nr. 80s: Page 74. 2006. 
  3. ^ Musée de l'Aventure Peugeot. The exhibit label (2012) states: « Jusqu'à présente le modèles Peugeot se suivaient dans une numérotation plus ou moins logique qui d’ailleurs n’était que peu utilise par la publicité. Par exemple le 190 S était présenté dans les brochures sous le nom « Le 5 CV Peugeot ». Avec la 201 une ère novelle commence.»
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