The models of the PEUGEOT 300 series are compact vehicles situated between the small saloon and the family car. Over the past 90 years, all or part of its production has come from the historic PEUGEOT factory in Sochaux, except for the PEUGEOT 309, which was produced at the Poissy plant, and the new generation coming out of Mulhouse.
At the beginning of the 1930s and in the midst of the economic crisis, PEUGEOT fully satisfied the most demanding customers by launching the PEUGEOT 301, which was marketed between 1932 and 1936 in versions: saloon, limousine, coupé, cabriolet and roadster. It was powered by a 1,465 cm3 engine that developed 35 hp. Of the 301, 70,500 units were manufactured.
The PEUGEOT 302 succeeded it in 1936, and 25,100 units were manufactured until 1938. It was a time when car manufacturers were discovering aerodynamics, and the 302 was a clear example. With its integrated headlights and located behind the grille, it had a very aerodynamic front end that continued with the style known as “Fuseau Sochaux” released on the PEUGEOT 402. After the sales success of the latter, the Brand decided to use the same line for its “intermediate” range, represented by the PEUGEOT 302. This car could reach the incredible speed of 100 km/h.Peugeot 300 range .
The war interrupted the trajectory of the 300 Series and the PEUGEOT 303 never came into existence. This series was put on hold for three decades until the arrival of the PEUGEOT 304, presented at the 1969 Paris Salon. It was offered as a saloon, coupe, cabriolet, estate, and commercial version. The PEUGEOT 304 wanted to position itself in the middle segment and kept the PEUGEOT 204 platform. However, it differs from the 204 by its front, which has a vertical grille and the saloon is 15 cm longer (4.14 m compared to 3, 99 m), but only 2 cm longer in the wagon version (3.99 m compared to 3.97 m for the 204). From the 204, the PEUGEOT 304 retains the wheelbase and the central part of the bodywork. The rear is longer. The front is more modern, with its trapezoidal headlights, and is similar to that of the PEUGEOT 504. It impresses with its spaciousness,
Between 1969 and 1979 almost 1,200,000 units of the 304 were manufactured and it was a great commercial success. Between 1970 and 1972, PEUGEOT also launched the 304 in the United States. It was too small for the North American market, and only 4,000 units were sold. In 1973 it was remodeled and in 1975 the coupé and cabriolet versions disappeared. The saloon continued on the market until 1979.
The PEUGEOT 305 was launched in Europe in 1977 as a successor to the PEUGEOT 304. It had two body types: a 4-door saloon and a 5-door estate, which also featured a folding rear seat in half. Designed in cooperation with Pininfarina, it was also available in a commercial version. The PEUGEOT 305 is the next step for the PEUGEOT 304 platform and its 1.3-litre petrol engine. It differs from its rivals by its front-wheel drive, its transversal engine and its 4 independent wheels. Its behavior on the road became a reference, and its great interior and comfort were worthy of the upper segments. The PEUGEOT 305 quickly established itself in the market. More than 1.6 million units of all body types were produced.
The PEUGEOT 305 saloon served as the basis for the experimental VERA programme, created to improve fuel efficiency in future generation vehicles. The first VERA 01 prototype presented in 1981 reduced its weight by 20% and aerodynamic resistance by 30%. This program was maintained for 5 years, which was extended to engines. The VERA program had an important influence on the development of the 405 models and later the 605 of the brand.
The arrival of the PEUGEOT 309 in 1985 halted sales of the 305, whose life ended in 1989. In fact, it was the PEUGEOT 405, and not the 309, that succeeded it in the PEUGEOT range in 1987.
Manufactured between 1985 and 1994 in Spain (Madrid Center), Poissy and Great Britain, the PEUGEOT 309 was the first truly “compact” car in the modern sense of the expression: it was no longer a classic four-door like the 304 and the 305, but a hatchback. With a length of 4.05 m, it is 19 cm more compact than a 305 (4.24 m in its saloon version). Inspired by the Talbot Horizon, but with its own style, it uses the platform and doors of the PEUGEOT 205, with the longer front and rear and the slightly domed rear window that characterizes the hatchback.
At its launch, the 309 had a 5-door version, followed by a 3-door version in 1987. The 309 GTI was introduced, powered by the 130bhp 1.9-litre engine from the 205 GTI. The 309 GTI accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 8 seconds and had a top speed of 205 km/h. In 1989, the 309 GTI incorporated the 160 hp MI16 engine from the PEUGEOT 405: it became the 309 GTI 16, a very competitive large compact sports car. The 309’s life ended in 1994. More than 1.6 million units were sold.
The Brand launched the PEUGEOT 306 in February 1993. It replaced both the top-of-the-range PEUGEOT 205 and the PEUGEOT 309. It became a bestseller in its segment and was manufactured and assembled in 9 plants around the world, including the Center of Madrid, until 2002.Peugeot and the Rallys.
He won the hard-fought French Rally Championship with Gilles Panizzi in 1996 and 1997, and then won some of the asphalt World Rally Championship events, such as Corsica in 1997 and 1998, beating the much more powerful Word Rally Cars .