Let’s say it was 1983 and you’re an accountant in Southern Nigeria.
You’ve just been promoted by a certain bank which now no longer exists for some reason and you’re what they term a regional auditor. It’s quite a prestigious position which has come alongside insincere congrats by jealous coworkers, a raise, and a company car because you’re expected to do a lot of travelling through the rainforest south linked with thin asphalt and dirt roads.
Guess what car you’re given, you have a driver too but just guess what car you’re given - a Peugeot 504 Coupe.
You’re glad it’s a Coupe. If it was just a 504 or a 404 you’d have been disappointed, hell even new recruits could buy a 404 if they did a little saving or got a quick loan.
But the Coupe was different.
Years ago you’d watched on your 8-inch television set how the V6 coupe won the Safari, Bandama, and Maroc rallies, and from then on you’d longed to have one of your own.
At the time only the elite rode the Peugeot. When the 404 came out and began to sell in Nigeria, the bank manager used to drive one rubbing shoulders with high-ranking army officials and businessmen, but now (1983 which you’re still imagining it is) it was all over the place, it even came in a truck and recently you’d seen some fellows transport sand with it, and the wagon which people used to carry passengers to and fro the village from the town was everywhere too.
You’re glad you got the Coupe; its features are a tad advanced, an upgrade from what others had. You loved the fact that it had just two doors and not four, and the way the bonnet curved upward. It was elegant, stylish, and provided the panache that suited your status.
Fast-forward to today and the 504 is no longer a big deal. No one actually looks forward to owning one. But as is with all the greats, it has served its time and paid its dues. Like a picture frame of past heads of state and presidents lined in a presidential house hallway, you have the Peugeot 504 and other historical models etched in glory at the back of your mind, or let’s play safe and say the minds of those who were alive and old enough to witness them ply the roads at the time.
Peugeot Nigeria was created in 1972 as a joint venture between the federal government of Nigeria and AP France, with its first assembly plant set up in Kaduna. The brand would succeed in producing as much as 60.000 units of vehicle models annually. This article is going to explain why Peugeot cars are so popular in the past.
The Solid Peugeot 404 Saloon
The Famous Peugeot 504...Lol
Nigerians were so in Love with the Peugeot Brand
Something really endeared Nigerians to the Peugeot brand, making it super easy for the brand to spread all across the country post-independence.
Peugeot built cars that were just as good and generally a good fit for virtually everything, all thanks to their sturdiness. Husbands rushed their wives to labour wards with it, took their kids to school with it, went to work with it, and took their families in it to the village on holidays; the police chased after criminals with it. The Peugeot was quite a utility.
Something endeared Nigerians more to the Peugeot. Apart from the vehicle's efficacy and tough nature of the vehicles, thousands of workers were employed by Peugeot creating jobs and improving the economy. The company also had great after-sales service with a functional network of over 25 service centres in 22 states of the federation, three years or 100,000 km warranty on all vehicle models and warranty on spare parts. This also attracted customers to the Peugeot 504, and 404 models.
The Solid 404
Peugeot had already begun building the 406 in 1960 before her joint venture with the Nigerian government kicked off in 1971.
Peugeot would later begin the assembling of the 404 along with her famous cousins the 504 and 505 in Nigeria between 1975 and 1986. The 404 which came in a few body styles, proved to be the utility vehicle of choice especially its pickup models.
The saloon models were just that cute that only the big boys could afford and drive it.
A battered and weathered Peugeot 404 pickup
Fully load and hard-working Peugeot 404
>>> Check out Popular Lagos roads in the past
The Famous 504
The first 504 had a 1.8L engine followed by the luxury series with 2.0L engine capacity. In 1986, the 504 ambulances were introduced to become an addition to this to the variety of functions the vehicle had.
So let’s say, paramedics rushed patients to the emergency unit with it. As the lion symbol on the vehicle represents, the car was strong and sharp as represented by a Lion’s jagged and sharp teeth on the logo.
The blue background was later added to the logo, to symbolize the forward-thinking nature of the company as we have seen the Peugeot evolve with the times.
The 504 car was deemed convenient for Nigerians because of its long-travel suspension which helped it deal with bumps on the tough Nigerian road. The seats were thickly padded and able to be infinitely adjusted.
Four-wheel disc brakes helped the car stop with ease. With a 56-litre tank, the car could travel long distances at a reasonable speed. Mechanical parts were affordable and easily changed.
The Legendary and Famous Peugeot 504
No wonder now, even when it seems it is out of date, the 504 Peugeot is still used by some. You may call them old-fashioned, archaic, backward and a lot of other terms you could find if you Google or flip your thesaurus, but the deal remains that the 504 has served many a great deal and has proven to be reliable over the years.
Our elderly ones won't part with their 504 because of the memories it brings. It may be a mark of success, like the hypothetic ‘regional auditor’ in the beginning, it could be what they rode to their wedding or the car they drove to hustle and eventually make it in life. It may not be as comfortable today yet it’s still reliable and used by many who can’t afford a new car.
Fully loaded Peugeot 504 station wagon
In 2006, the last set of 504 Peugeots was assembled in Nigeria and if you pay a little attention, you scarcely find them on the roads. Like every good thing, the glorious vehicle has had its time and paved the way for the new generation of Peugeot, the 208, 3008 SUV, 508 Saloon among others.
Check out this video of the Peugeot 504:
The Classic Peugeot 504
The above post was dedicated on the topic why Peugeot cars are so popular in the past, we hope that you have fun with it. If you do, make sure to come back with Naijauto.com for more interesting articles in the future!