Frenchman Henri-Theodore Pigozzi had been importing Fiat’s for a time, and realised it would be even more lucrative to produce the Italian cars under license for the French market, thus in 1934 La Société Industrielle de Mécanique et de Carrosserie Automobile, or simply Simca for short. It would become an overnight success by building the Fiat 500 Topolino and 508 as the Cinq and Huit respectively.
By 1938 the Nanterre facility (on the Seine) was building some 20,000 cars per year. Following the war the company would resume production of the Cinq and Huit, then in 1951
the company would manufacture their very own iteration, the Aronde. The new car would become an overnight success, it soon being exported and garnering a stellar reputation for quality and reliability. Following the success of the Aronde, the company set about designing and manufacturing other genuine French iterations, while also expanding its operations.
Unic was bought in 1951
, then Ford’s French operation was purchased three years later, greatly adding to the production capacity. In 1959 Simca acquired Talbot, but by then Chrysler had obtained a 15% stake in Simca as it grew its European manufacturing base (the British Rootes concern was also in Chrysler’s sights).
By 1963 Chrysler
held a majority share, at a time when their small 1000 and more modern 1100 and 1301/1501 models would ride the crest of unappalled popularity. By the early 1970’s Chrysler owned 100% of the company, but financial difficulties in the US would see the company sell of its foreign subsidiaries, Simca being sold to Peugeot-Citroën in 1978
. Simca would be renamed Talbot, but even that name would be dropped a few years later.
Also see: The History of Simca (USA Edition)