From 1934 To 2004
The recently launched Peugeot 407 is the latest in a line of highly successful cars to carry the ‘4’ Series badge.
First introduced in 1934 with the 401, production of the Peugeot ‘4’ series around the world has gone on to pass the 8.5 million mark in the Seventy years.
With class leading ride and handling and advanced driver and passenger comfort and safety, the Peugeot 407 is a world away from some of the early cars that carried the first ‘4’ Series badge, however, even back in the 1930s Peugeot was at the cutting edge of style and innovation.
Innovation has never just been limited to appearance for Peugeot though. It has always included technical improvement and at the 1934 Paris Motor Show, Peugeot introduced a car that caused a sensation. The 401 Eclipse was the first car with an electrically retractable metal roof. It was an idea that was to be used many years later by Ford and Mercedes before Peugeot returned to it at the end of the 1990s with the 206CC and now the recent 307CC.
Over the years the ‘4’ Series has passed many landmarks and set many new standards for the company not least with the 403 launched in 1955 which was the first Peugeot to be designed by an outside designer. Indeed it was to be the start of many years of outside collaboration with celebrated Italian design house Pininfarina.
The 403 was a great success and was the first Peugeot to sell more than a million.
With the introduction of the 404 in 1960 the company became a true global player with production outside France for the first time. The 404 was a huge success and was in production for 20 years with almost 2.9 million built.
The 405 launched in 1987 was the first ‘4’ series to be front-wheel drive and won the coveted ‘European Car of the Year Title’ in 1988.
Finally the 406 bows out after nine years and 1.6 million sales. The 406 has always been good looking and when launched gave Peugeot a competitive edge with its state of the art suspension and use of multi-plex technology. That was combined with equipment that had never before been available on Peugeot cars in this category.
Quite how the next Seventy years will turn out, we will just have to wait and see. What is evident from the early reports on the new 407 is that Peugeot has a car that again sets new standards for its class and therefore can wear its ‘4’ Series badge with pride.Published 30 May 2004