Episode I

Chrysler-Simca cars become Talbots

On July, 10th 1978 Chrysler Europe, which was composed of Chrysler France (Simca), Chrysler UK (Rootes-Sunbeam) and Chrysler España (Barreiros) was bought by PSA (Peugeot Société Anonyme). The contract specified Peugeot had to change the name within a year and the name Chrysler, which was obviously still used by Chrysler USA, could not be used. Thus, Peugeot decided to unify all the brands and to name them with a single brand name. To do so, they needed a brand name which was already known by all and they finally decided in 1979 that the new brand name would be Talbot.
Actually, that brand name came from an old brand, which started building cars in 1902 in France and in 1903 in England. Talbot experienced financial problems and the French and English companies were bought separately by Anthony Lago (bought by Simca some years afterwards) for the French one and by the Rootes group concerning the British one. Finally, the Talbot marques which were one at the beginning had a short life in both countries. But for Peugeot the choice was quite easy when the company realized that most of British people thought Talbot was a British company and most French people thought it was a French company. In short, it had everything Peugeot wanted plus a good reputation in the United Kingdom.
Chrysler-Simca cars became Talbot-Simca cars on July, 10th 1979 and a wide campaign was launched in Europe.
On August, Simca 1307s and 1308s were named Talbot 1510 and Talbot Alpine in the UK and some changes were made on the car as the front, the rear light clusters and the dashboard.
On March 1980 Talbot unveiled the new Talbot Solara which was actually just a Talbot Alpine with a boot. But at that time, Peugeot didn’t realize that the customers would be totally lost as Talbot Alpine were sold as Talbots but had a Simca or a Chrysler badge on the front grille and on the steering wheel. When the Talbot Solara was launched, it had a Simca badge on the boot and the keys that were given to the customers were marked with the Chrysler logo.
The prestigious brand Talbot became suddenly a car maker for the masses – Talbot cars were originally meant to be luxurious cars. Finally, in 1981 Peugeot decided that all Talbots will be badged… Talbot! Sales went down over and over and Peugeot decided to lay off 4000 employees. Talbot suffered from strikes in France, and sales went down again.

The C28 to be the future of Peugeot

Late 1983, a new car was said to replace the Talbot Horizon. It had the difficult ambition to boost sales. The car had been developed by PSA since 1982 and the prototype name was C28.
In order to calm down employees and people about the future of the Talbot factory situated in Poissy, the French Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy announced officially on December 1983 that a new Talbot car would bring jobs. But Peugeot didn’t exactly have the same point of view. Indeed, Peugeot did invest but the future of the new car would be misleading. Finally, in 1984 Peugeot decides Talbot had no longer reasons to live.
In 1983 the heart of the project C28 was hidden in a Peugeot 205 and was tested that way. But in 1984 Peugeot had made 28 prototypes which shape had been frozen since 1983 and each one cost approximately £600,000. The investment was gigantic and even if it was often said that the new car would be released either under the Talbot or the Peugeot name, Peugeot had no doubt on which logo would be put on the front grille of the C28…

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