When French giant Peugeot took over Citroen in 1975, forming the PSA Group, as well as the European division of Chrysler in 1978, it seemed like a good idea. However, it soon put the company into financial trouble. One part of the solution was the French state, which granted a considerable sum of money. However, they also imposed a series of import restrictions for Japanese cars.
Another solution was of an engineering nature. In 1983, Peugeot launched the 205 Supermini. It was a high quality, spacious and charming three-or five-door compact hatchback. As one of the best market offerings in its class, the 205 soon conquered Europe, reimagining the Peugeot brand in just a few years.
Once conservative, Peugeot became youthful and hip almost overnight. Numerous special edition versions of the 205 helped nurture their newly acquired image. In years before the 205, Peugeot had some rally experience. Luckily for the company, their great financial situation coincided with the Group B years in rallying.
Peugeot developed the 205 T16, an iconic Group B car that made people love the ordinary 205 even more. For performance-loving customers, there were the 1.6 and 1.9GTi models. They were some of the finest hot hatchbacks ever produced. There was also the convertible with its own performance variant called CTi.
Thanks to the 205, Peugeot gained massive profits. But more importantly, it established itself as the maker of high-quality compact cars. This is by far the most lucrative market segment in Europe.