Simca Talbot Information Centre
Before we look at the Talbot cars catered for by Simca Club UK, it may be helpful to
explain why Chrysler and Simca cars suddenly became Talbots in July 1979.
Talbot started building cars in France in 1902 and a British factory was established in
1903. Until the 1930s both British and French built Talbots were sold in both countries.
When the group of which they were a part, namely Sunbeam Talbot Darracq, experienced
financial difficulties, the Rootes Group bought Sunbeam and the British Talbot company.
The French Talbot company was acquired by an Italian Major, Anthony Lago. From that point
there were no links between the two Talbot marques. In 1938, Rootes merged Sunbeam and
Talbot to create a new Sunbeam Talbot marque which lasted until 1956, when the Talbot
part of the name was dropped. Talbot in France lasted until 1958, when Simca bought the
company. Simca halted Talbot production less than a year later, but kept the name to use
on a new prestige car should they ever introduce one.
On 10th August 1978, Chrysler Simca became a member, alongside Peugeot and Citroen, of
the leading European automotive group Peugeot PSA. Within a year, they had to stop using
the Chrysler name on their cars. They decided to revive the Talbot name, after having
undertaken some market research that showed that 80% of British people thought Talbot
was a British make, and 80% of French people thought that Talbot was a French make.
Perhaps a better question to ask would have been, "Would you buy a Talbot?" because it
soon became evident that the new marque meant little to most potential buyers in both
the UK and continental Europe. Despite extensive promotion at first, and the sponsorship
of a Formula One team, Talbot never became a serious player in the new car market. The
decline was most serious in France where Simca had a market share of around 12% in 1979.
As Talbot, by 1984, it was down to around 3%. Eventually, Peugeot took the almost
inevitable decision to stop marketing Talbot cars and the Samba was the last to go in
1986, just 7 years after the name was revived. The Talbot (formerly Simca) factory at
Poissy, near Paris, still plays a major part in the production of the modern range of
Peugeot cars, and a museum has been established beside the factory with examples of the
many Simcas and Talbots built there.
Sadly the much vaunted "New spirit of motoring" as Talbot was promoted in 1979 became
just a footnote in the history of the Simca marque. However, SIMCA Club UK is just as
keen to keep post 1979 Talbots on the road as the earlier Simcas, hence all the details
of the Talbot cars on this website.
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