French Car Brands – List and Logos of Car Companies in France

When we talk about fashion and travel, France always finds a top position on the list. It’s not just their heritage places and the latest trend that attracts attention, France is also popular for its super chic and original automobile designs. The French car industry is quite different from the other car industries in the world. Just like their language, french cars reflect elegance, splendor, finesse, charm, beauty, and style. It had consistently been the 4th-largest from the end of World War II up to 2000. Still, in 2018, it successfully marked its spot among the top 10 list.

France started its vehicle production in 1769 by giving the world its first automobile. In 1901, France produced its first car ‘The Curved Dash Oldsmobile ‘ and soon it had over 30 brands producing more than 30,000 vehicles. From the 1900s till the 1930s France was the leading power in automobile manufacturing but due to the unstable economic situation in the mid-1930s, it gave the pass to British and German automobile industries. Nevertheless, the French automobile industry is most popular in the European market. According to a survey, 23% of all cars sold on the European market are French. Today, Renault-Nissan and PSA Peugeot-Citroen are among the leaders of the world market, holding 4th and 8th place on the world’s manufacturer list.

For a fact, 3 out of every 4 cars manufactured by the French car brands are sold outside of the country. French car industries play a major role in the country’s economy and directly or indirectly, about 10% of the working population works for automobile manufacturers. France released several outstanding movies, which showcase their cars and this boosted their sales outside of the country. French car brands have won many international awards, including the European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year.

To that note, let’s talk about some of the French car brands and have a look at their logos:


Founded: 1899
Founder: Louis Renault, Marcel Renault, and Fernand Renault
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Owner: RENAULT Group

One of the powerful pillars of the French automakers, Renault manufactures a strong range of cars and vans. Although in the past, the brand produced trucks, tractors, tanks, buses/coaches, and Autorail vehicles. This French car company is known for its role in motorsport, specifically rallying, Formula 1 and Formula E. Its early work on mathematical curve modeling for car bodies is important in the history of computer graphics. Renault produced principally new types of cars to met different requirements of people and so, acknowledged as one of the most innovative car manufacturers in the world.

The history of the Renault Company started in 1898, when the first Renault car, the Renault Voiturette 1CV, drove in Paris. Soon after in 1899, Louis Renault and his brothers founded Société Renault Frères. In 1908, the company produced 3,575 units, becoming the country’s largest car manufacturer. However, the turning point for the company was when it participated and succeeded in the first city-to-city races held in Switzerland, which led to rapid sales growth. No wonder that for more than 119 years Renault Company has always been closely linked to motorsport competitions.

Renault has a 1.55% stake in Daimler AG of Germany and a 43.4% controlling stake in Nissan of Japan. Together Renault and Nissan invested €4 billion (US$5.16 billion) in eight electric vehicles over three to four years beginning in 2011. Today, this French car company is represented in 128 countries and unites three major big brands: Renault, Dacia, and Renault Samsung Motors.


Founded: 1810
Founder: Armand Peugeot
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Sochaux, France
Parent Company: Groupe PSA

Peugeot is one of the most renowned car brands in France. After Volkswagen, it is the second-largest automaker in Europe and known for luxury cars, sports cars, and commercial vehicles. This French automaker manufactures cars for some of the best riders on the tough roads of outer France and has also shown great results at Le Mans races. On the contrary to Renault, Peugeot produces vehicles that are a little more “French-styled”.

Founded in 1810, Peugeot began business by manufacturing coffee mills and bicycles. In 1890, Armand Peugeot launches his first petrol car thus laying the foundation of the automobile business. These French car brands became the first manufacturers to fit rubber tires into a petrol-powered car. In 1976, when Citroen was on the verge of bankruptcy, Peugeot took it over and since then the joint venture is popularly known as PSA Peugeot Citroen. The group then acquired Chrysler Europe in 1978.

Peugeot has received five European cars of the year awards and once it was ranked second lowest for average CO2 emissions among generalist brands in Europe. The Lion Fil on the company’s logo showcases the values and the history of the brand. In 1998, Lion got its paws that reflect the power and corporate balance of the company. As for the color blue, it represents the futuristic side of the brand. All in all, Peugeot is undeniably the brand for the lions, the true fighters.


Founded: 1919
Founder: André Citroën
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Saint-Ouen, France
Owner: PSA Peugeot Citroën

The other half of the PSA Peugeot Citroen, this French automobile company manufactured the world’s first mass-produced front-wheel-drive car. Citroen has produced numerous concept cars over the decades, previewing future design trends or technologies. Citroen is famous for its radically innovative approach to auto manufacturing and its car; ‘the Citroën Traction Avant’ was one of the first to feature a unitary type body, with no chassis holding the mechanical components.

Founded in 1919 by French industrialist André-Gustave Citroen, the French car brand released their first car, ‘the 1,327 cc Type A’ by the end of the year. Between 1921 and 1937, Citroën produced half-track vehicles for off-road and military uses. In 1954, Citroen launched the world’s first hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension system and the first mass-production car with modern disc brakes in 1955. In 1974, Citroën went bankrupt and so announced a partnership with Peugeot. Peugeot acquired a 38.2% share of Citroën and in 1976 they increased their stake and since that time the joint company is widely known as PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Among famous Citroen models are the Citroën Traction Avant, the Citroen DS, and the Citroen 2CV that stood out with its superb handling. This French car company won three different official championships from the International Automobile Federation: the World Rally Raid Championship five times, the World Rally Championship eight times, and the World Touring Car Championship.


Founded: 1909
Founder: Ettore Bugatti
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Molsheim, Alsace, France
Owner: Volkswagen Group

Bugatti is indeed a name of luxury and high-performance cars. This French luxury supercar brand is popular for its stunning designs, high performance, and success on the race tracks. The founder of the company, Ettore Bugatti considered himself to be both a constructor and an artist, so he focused on every keen detail of the designs. The Bugatti cars have won international recognition and love for their splendid design and numerous race victories.

Started by a family in Alsacia in 1909, Bugatti has had a very complex history. Type 10 was the first “Pur Sang” developed by the company and the production continued until 1914. In 1910, Ettore Bugatti’s Assistant participated in numerous races, which marked the beginning of a successful car company on the racing circuit. In the 20s, this French car brand manufactured the Model 35 that was the first Bugatti to use aluminum spoke wheels. However, the death of Jean Bugatti (Ettore’s son) in 1939 ensured there was no successor to lead and the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 proved to be the end for the marque. The company made its last appearance in 1952, at the Paris Motor Show, after which Bugatti ceased its operations. In 1987, an Italian entrepreneur acquired the Bugatti brand, and currently it is owned by the German Volkswagen Group.

The main color of the brand logo is red, which naturally demonstrates extreme power, passion, and a pleasure to drive. Some of the famous Bugatti models include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 “Royale”, the Type 57 “Atlantic” and the Type 55 sports car.


Founded: 1955
Founder: Jean Rédélé
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Dieppe, France
Parent Company: Renault

Alpine, the French manufacturer company specializes in racing and sports cars. This French sports car brand achieved universal recognition by producing vehicles right after the Second World War. Another reason for its popularity was the close association with Renault S.A. as the brand used its engines and received much financial support.

Alpine was founded by Jean Rédélé, a garage proprietor, in Dieppe in 1955. Using Renault 4CVs, Rédélé gained class wins in a number of major events, and in 1955, he produced a small coupe based on 4CV mechanicals, called the Alpine A106. With 1973 came the international petrol crisis, which results in the drop of cars sold from 1421 in 1972 to 957 in 1974. However, the crises were controlled with the company takeover by giant automakers Renault. In 1995, Renault abandons the Alpine name and so the production was ceased due to insufficient funds for the new projects. The French automakers re-launched in 2017 with the new Alpine A110.

Alpine cars won several national and international competitions like Tour de France and World Rally Championship. Today, this French car brand produces mostly Renault Sports brands. Some of their previously produced street models include A108, A110, A310, and others.


Founded: 1984
Founder: Claude Poiraud and Gérard Godfroy
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Fontvieille, Monaco, France
Owner: Gildo Pallanca Pastor

The only purpose behind the formation of this French luxury car brand was to compete in ‘Grand Tourisme’ alongside such much-talked-of luxury brands as Bugatti of French, Ferrari of Italy, and Porsche of Germany. This car brand is a multinational automotive manufacturer that designs, manufactures, and sells luxury electric vehicles. Cars manufactured by Venturi gave some excellent performances in different competitions and so the brand made its appearance on foreign ground and manage to had a minor capital.

Founded in 1984, Venturi immediately faced many challenges but still manages to continue in production for nearly sixteen years. With so many ups and downs, these French automakers declared bankrupt in 2000. In 2001 Gildo Pallanca Pastor acquired the company and changed its direction to electric-powered engines and electric car production.

Venturi designed various models that attracted worldwide attention including the Fetish (the first entirely electric sports car), Eclectic (the world’s first energy-autonomous vehicle), and Astrolab (the world’s first solar-electric hybrid car).


Founded: 2009
Founder: Groupe PSA
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Paris, France
Owner: Citroën

DS is the premium brand of French car manufacturer Citroen. Driven by its outstanding heritage and avant-garde spirit, Citroën launched this French car brand with the ambition of embodying French luxury savoir-faire in its cars. However, since 2015, the DS has been recognized as a standalone premium brand. DS is using the same platforms and dealerships as other PSA models but is now distinguished itself from Citroën cars by using separate manufacturing and engineering standards.

Since 1976, PSA has experimented with differentiating the brands by price level but, no brand had the strength to obtain Premium pricing. So eventually the concept of introducing DS was to establish a French luxury car brand under PSA Group. DS preserved the values of innovation and distinction of the first Citroen DS launched in 1955, and on that heritage, PSA introduced DS in 2009. In early 2010, the DS line started with the Citroën DS3.

In 2017, the second generation of DS models ‘DS 7 CROSSBACK’ was revealed and opens the way to one vehicle launch per year.


Founded: 1983
Founder: Arola
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Aix-les-Bains, Savoie, France
Owner: Polaris Industries and Groupe PSA

Following the acquisition of Arola, Aixam was found to make microcars. In 2013, US-based Polaris industries acquired this French car brand that specializes in producing microcars and compact vehicles. Groupe PSA acquired a 56% stake in Aixam on January 28th promising to improve its range and vowed to keep production running until 2022.

The company was founded in 1983 and introduced its first vehicle ‘the 325D’ in 1984, followed by ‘the 400D’ in 1985. This French car manufacturer company currently produces the Aixam A.7XX series, a microcar comparable with the Smart. In the UK, they are classified as a category L7e quadricycle due to their weight and power output.

Today, Aixam-Mega is one of the well-known microcar manufacturers in France and has made several appearances in the British International Motor Show.


Founded: 1968
Founder: Guy Ligier
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Abrest, France
Parent Company: 21 Investimenti Partners

Specialized in Microcars and minibus, Ligier was started by a former racing driver and rugby player Guy Ligier. This French auto company came into the limelight after its involvement in the Formula 1 World Championship between 1976 and 1996. In 1976, the brand entered Formula One with a Matra V12-powered car, winning its first Grand Prix with Jacques Laffite in 1977.

This French car brand was founded in 1968 and introduced its first vehicle in 1971, which was the Ligier JS2, a sports car powered by a mid-engine Ford V6. However, the production of JS2 ceased soon after the 1973 energy crisis because of the decline in the market and so the firm changed its focus to microcars like moped-powered Ligier JS6, the Ligier X-Too, and Ambra CLS. The EZ10 EasyMile, a self-driving shuttle bus for light city transit is one of the most popular models by Ligier.


Founded: 1985
Founder: Gilles and Olivier Prevot
Current Status: Running
Headquarters: Saint-Christol-lès-Alès, France
Parent Company: Not Known

PGO is a private-owned car manufacturer in France, which specializes in Sportscars. The company was started by two car lovers, Prévôt Gilles and Olivier, whose initials formed the brand name. PGO started the automotive business by producing replicas but soon moved to its own range of two-seater retro-style cars.

Founded in 1985, this French car brand introduced its first own design, ‘the Speedster II’ in 2000 that was first seen at the Paris Motor Show. Later a new model called ‘the Hemera’ was launched at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. This coupe maintains all the elegance of PGO that obtains ISO 9001 certification in May.

Some other automakers from France that still exist and are worth mentioning are

• Panhard (1891-Present)

• De La Chapelle (1970-Present)

• Microcar (1984-Present)

In a short course of time, the French automobile industry has achieved great success as they introduced many new car body styles and developed advanced technologies. They also started to produce economy cars to make them affordable for all. Nowadays with an annual production of about 3 million vehicles, France is one of the ten largest automakers in the world alongside Japan, the USA, Germany, and China.