Some of the major French car companies in the world are Peugeot, Renault and Alpine. Peugeot is a part of the Peugeot Société Anonyme (PSA) Peugeot Citroen brand, the second largest European-based automobile manufacturer in the world, as of 2012.
The initial Peugeot car was built in 1889. It had only three wheels and ran on a steam-powered engine. Advancements in technology allowed for the manufacture of a petrol-based engine only a year later. This version had the four wheels that have become standard as of 2014, and the engine was under the license of the Daimler brand. Seven years after the first Peugeot car, in 1896, the company moved away from the Daimler-branded engine toward a Peugeot-manufactured engine, a horizontal twin with eight horsepower. Success allowed Peugeot to buy a 30-percent stake in the Citroen brand in 1974, purchasing it outright in 1975 with support from the French government.
Renault was established in 1899. As of 2014, this company produces a variety of cars and vans. It was the third largest European automobile manufacturer behind Volkswagen and PSA, another French-owned company. As of 2014, Renault has a 43.4-percent stake in Nissan, and Nissan holds a 15-percent stake, which includes no voting rights, in Renault.