Today in Transportation History – 1934: A New(ish) Car Company Appears in Europe

Henri Pigozzi, who served as the general commercial representative for the Italian automobile producer Fiat S.p.A. in France, founded the company Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile (Simca)-Fiat at the one-time Donnet manufacturing factory in the French commune of Suresnes (a western suburb of Paris). Pigozzi launched Simca-Fiat as a distributor for Fiat automobiles in France.

Over the next several years, however, Simca-Fiat also began assembling rather than just importing vehicles. The first of these models built by Simca included the Fiat 518 Balillas (with the badge Simca-Fiat 6CV) and Fiat 518 Arditas (with the badge Simca-Fiat 11CV). By 1938, the name of the France-based company had been shortened from Simca-Fiat to Simca.

Simca further set itself apart from Fiat after the Allied liberation of Paris and its vicinity from German control during World War II, when the company won a contract to repair a large number of Jeep engines for the U.S. Army. During the post-war years, Simca mushroomed into one of the largest automobile manufacturers in all of France. One of its most popular models was the Simca 1100, which was introduced in 1967 and reigned supreme for a time as the best-selling automobile in France.

Henri Pigozzi, founder of Simca

As the founder of Simca, Pigozzi remained a strong and guiding light for the company throughout much of its history. He was Simca’s director general until 1954 and then served as its president-director general until 1963. (He died in 1964 at the age of 66.)

In 1970, Simca’s existence as an independent entity ended when the company became a subsidiary and brand of Chrysler Europe. Simca disappeared altogether eight years later when Chrysler divested its European operations to the French automobile manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroën.

For more information about Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile (Simca), please check out

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