- Simca redirects here; for other uses of that term, see SIMCA (disambiguation).
|Fate||merged into Chrysler Europe, subsequently into PSA|
|Successor||Talbot, a brand of PSA|
1970 taken over by Chrysler,|
1979 by PSA
|Parent||Chrysler Europe formerly|
Simca (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile) was a French automaker, founded in 1934 by Ernest Loste. Simca was originally affiliated with Fiat, but later, after a period of independence, when Simca bought Ford's French branch, they became increasingly controlled by the Chrysler Group, in 1970 becoming a part of Chrysler Europe and a brand rather than independent company. In 1978, Chrysler divested its European operations to another French automaker, PSA Peugeot Citroën, which replaced the Simca brand with Talbot, thus ending the life of the brand (although some models were badged as Simca-Talbots for a time).
During most of its post-war activity, Simca was one of the biggest automobile manufacturers and most popular automobile brands in France. The Simca 1100 was for some time the best-selling car in France, while the Simca 1307 and Simca Horizon won the coveted European Car of the Year titles in 1976 and 1978, respectively. Simca vehicles were also manufactured by Simca do Brasil in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil and Barreiros (another Chrysler subsidiary) in Spain, and also assembled in Chile, Colombia and the Netherlands  during the Chrysler era.
The story begins with Ernest Loste, a former cyclist talent who, for his conversion, decides to open a car dealership in Paris. In 1907 he became sole distributor of Fiat cars for France. After the war, his business became so successful that the parent starts to Italian judge that leaving a little French pharmacies distribute its products is no longer conceivable. In 1926 created the Safafa "Société Anonyme Française des Automobiles Fiat", Loste was appointed president of the company and the young Henri Theodore Pigozzi, general manager.
The SIMCA (Société Industrielle de Mécanique et de Carrosserie Automobile) company was founded in 1935 when Ernest Loste bought the former Donnet factory in the French town of Nanterre.
The first cars produced were Fiat 508 Balilla and Fiat 518 Ardita but carried Simca-Fiat 6CV and 11CV badges. This was followed in 1936 by the Simca Cinq or 5CV a version of the Fiat Topolino and in 1937 by the Huit or 8CV version of the Fiat 508C-1100. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937 leaving the 5CV and the 8CV in production until the outbreak of World War II. Despite France's being occupied during the war, Simca cars continued to be produced in small numbers throughout the conflict.
With peace, production resumed in 1946 with the pre-war Cinq (5CV) and Huit (8CV) but a new car arrived in 1948 with the Simca 6 with overhead valve 570 cc engine ahead of the equivalent Fiat.
The Aronde and Ford SAF takeover
The Simca Aronde, launched in 1951, was the first true Simca car as opposed to a Fiat design. It had a 1200 cc engine and its production reached 100,000 units yearly. Following this success, Simca took over the French truck manufacturers Unic in 1951, and Saurer in 1956, the Poissy plant of Ford SAF in 1954. The Poissy plant came with ample room for expansion, which duly took place so that Simca production in France was focused on a single plant, permitting the old Nanterre plant to be sold in 1961.
The Ford purchase also recruited the V-8 powered Ford Vedette range to the Simca stable. This model continued to be made and progressively upgraded, but now with Simca badges and various names until 1962 in France and 1967 in Brazil. An Aronde powered version was also made in 1957 and called the Ariane which because of its economy combined with a large body was popular as a taxi.
In 1958 Simca bought the Talbot brand from Talbot-Lago.
Chrysler buys in and then gains control
In 1958 the American car manufacturer Chrysler Corporation, which wanted to enter the European car market, bought 15% of the Simca stocks from Ford in a deal which Henry Ford II was later reported as having publicly regretted. At this stage, however, the dominant shareholder remained Fiat, and their influence is apparent in the engineering and design of Simcas of that period such as the 1000 and 1300 models introduced respectively in 1961 and 1963. However, in 1963 Chrysler increased their stake to a controlling 64% by purchasing stock from Fiat, and they subsequently extended that holding further to 77%. Even in 1971 Fiat retained a 19% holding, but by now they had long ceased to play an active role in the business.
Also, in 1964 Chrysler bought the British manufacturer Rootes thus putting together the basis of Chrysler Europe. All the Simca models manufactured after 1967 had the Chrysler pentastar logo as well as Simca badging. In 1961 Simca started to manufacture all of its models in the ex-Ford SAF factory in Poissy and sold the factory at Nanterre to Citroën. The rear-engined Simca 1000 was introduced in 1961 with its sporting offspring, the Simca-Abarth in 1963. The 1000 also served as the platform for the 1000 Coupe, a handsome sports coupe sporting a Bertone-designed body by Giorgetto Giugiaro and 4-wheel disc brakes. It debuted in 1963 and was described by Car Magazine as "the world's neatest small coupe". 1967 saw the more powerful 1200S Bertone Coupe that, with a horsepower upgrade in 1970, could reach the dizzying speed of almost 112 mph (180 km/h), making it the fastest standard production Simca ever built. In 1967 a much more up to date car, the 1100, appeared with front wheel drive and independent suspension all round, and continued in production until 1979. On 1 July 1970 the company title was formally changed to Chrysler France.
The collapse of Chrysler Europe
The most successful pre-Chrysler Simca models were the Aronde, the Simca 1000 and the front engined 1100 compact car. During the late 1970s Chrysler era, Simca produced the new 160/180 saloon, 1307 range (Chrysler Alpine in the UK) and later the Horizon (Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon in the USA), both of which were European Car of the Year on their launch. However, Chrysler's forced marriage of Simca and Rootes was not a happy one, and Chrysler Europe collapsed in 1977 and the remains were sold to Peugeot the following year. The Rootes models were quickly killed off, and the Simca-based Alpine / 1307 and Horizon soldiered on through the first half of the 1980s using the resurrected Talbot badge. The last car to carry the Simca badge was the 1980 Solara, a 1307 with a boot, but by 1981 this had become a Talbot, thus axing the Simca marque entirely.
Peugeot eventually grew tired of the Talbot brand, and the last Simca design was launched as Peugeot 309 (instead of Talbot Arizona as had been originally planned), and this was the end of this French brand. The Peugeot 309 used Simca engines until October 1991 when they were replaced by PSA's own TU and XU series of engines. The 309 was produced at the former Rootes factory in Ryton-on-Dunsmore,nr Coventry in the UK as well as in the Poissy plant.
The last Simca-based car to cease production was the Horizon-based Dodge Omni, which was built in the USA until 1990.
- Simca 5
- Simca 6
- Simca 8
- Simca 9
- Simca 11
- Simca Aronde
- Simca Vedette (also manufactured in license by Simca do Brasil with the names Simca Chambord, Simca Alvorada, Simca Profissional and Simca Présidence)
- Simca Jangada (Brazilian model)
- Simca Esplanada (Brazilian model)
- Simca Regente (Brazilian model)
- Simca Tufão (Brazilian model)
- Simca GTX (Brazilian model)
- Simca Ariane
- Simca 1000
- Simca 1000 Bertone Coupe
- Simca 1100
- Simca 1300/1500-1301/1501
- Simca 1200S Bertone Coupe
- Chrysler-Simca 1609/1610/2-Litre
- Matra-Simca Bagheera
- Matra-Simca Rancho
- Simca 1307/1308/1309/1510
- Simca Horizon
- Talbot-Simca Solara
- Welkom op Simca en Nekaf site!
- "Simca history". Histomobile. Retrieved on 2006-08-25.
- Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.
- "Simca - Chrysler with French dressing", Motor nbr 3598: pages 24 - 25. date 19 June 1971.
- SIMCA 1000 COUPE, SIMCA 1200S COUPE
- A capsule history of the marque
- Brazilian Simcas' history
- Abarth Simca 2000 - Photos and Information
- Simca 1000 rallye de légende
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