Peugeot wins again!

This was the caption of an advertisement in the British magazine, The Motor, in May 1962; fifty years ago.

The reason for this jubilation was that Peugeot – again – won the East African Safari. And they did have reason to be over the moon since they finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the 1600-2000 cc class in one of the most gruelling endurance rallies at the time. The winning 404 was driven by local driver, the Kenyan Nick Nowicki with Paddy Cliff as his co-driver.

The very tough East African Safari was first held in 1953 and was named the Coronation Safari to commemorate the coronation of the Queen of England, Elizabeth 11. After all, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika (now Tanzania) were all colonies over which the young Queen would rule until the dawn of independence a decade later.

But African rallies and records were nothing new to Peugeot by 1962. Already in 1953 Andre Mercier and Charles de Cortanze set up a record for a trip from Cape Town to Paris when they covered the more than 9 000 kilometres in 17 days in their Peugeot 203 station wagon.

These impressive records and achievements in African rallies in the 1950’s and 1960’s helped Peugeot to establish a reputation of toughness and reliability in Central and East Africa that other manufacturers could only dream of. And in South Africa the extraordinary feats north of the border did not go unnoticed; in the mid 1960’s the Peugeot 404 was one of the top seven bestsellers in the country.

But then Peugeot entered into an assembly contract with a company that was better at mining than building cars. This, plus politics, caused the departure of Peugeot from our shores.

When Peugeot returned to South Africa a decade ago; everything has changed. Peugeot no more built the rugged, rear-wheel drive 404’s and 504’s that earned Peugeot the nickname Lion of Africa. But it was not only Peugeot that suffered from this development; all the other manufacturers turned to high tech engines with lots of electronics and state of the art computers. Suddenly the demands and expectations of the motoring public changed dramatically. And to complicate things further, the number of new makes that entered the market during Peugeots absence can be counted on two hands.

Ten years after the re-entry of Peugeot to South Africa, and fifty years after Peugeot celebrated their class win in the East African Safari, there is a new winner. With the 5 years motoring plan and warranty that cover all new Peugeots, everybody can smile again; both buyers and sellers of Peugeot cars. Only those who have confidence in their products, can afford to give this kind of guarantee. Suddenly it makes financial sense for students, young families and those who are bound to retire, to invest in a Peugeot and know that the next five years will not hold any unpleasant surprises with regard to maintenance costs. The only hard decision is to choose the model that will suit one’s needs! This time, confiance is not a problem!

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