Hotchkiss Company, a French arms and car manufacturer set up by Benjamin Hotchkiss; full name: Society Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements Hotchkiss et Cie.
An embarrassment of profits at the turn of the twentieth century prompted the company to move into the car business to avoid attracting too much attention from the French government, according to the chairman's son, also Alfred Koerner, speaking in the early 1980s. Information provided on the company for the International Universal Exhibition of 1900, at which it displayed a variety of cannons, said the St Denis factory employed around 400 staff and had 600 machine tools.
The first car, a 17 CV (13 kW) four-cylinder model, appeared in 1903. The badge for the marque consisted of a pair of crossed cannons'a salute to the company's first products.
A factory fire nearly killed all projects. Despite this, a six-cylinder model followed in 1906. During World War I, Hotchkiss manufactured tank parts and weapons. Post war came a luxury model called Type AK (6.6 litre) but only one was built.
In 1920, there was an unsuccessful attempt to build Hotchkiss cars by the British arm of Hotchkiss in Britain - only a prototype was made.
A refined model named Type AM was in production between 1923 and 1928. A new six cylinder model, named AM 80 came in 1928. The company made several successful racing cars. Hotchkiss racers won the Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1949 and 1950.
The Hotchkiss 680 was an important model between the wars, it had a 6 cylinder, 3 litre engine. In 1937, the company merged with Amilcar. J. A. Gregoire joined the company as a designer. After World War II, the 680 continued. The first new car post war was a 13 CV (10 kW) four-cylinder model. From 1947, 2 litre flat-four models are frequently called Hotchkiss-Gr?goire. In 1954, Hotchkiss purchased French manufacturer Delahaye, closing down their automotive line but continuing to produce Hotchkiss-Delahaye trucks for a few months before eliminating the Delahaye name completely. After 1954, Hotchkiss manufactured Jeeps under licence from Willys.
The name of the Hotchkiss firm is associated with a form of power transmission called the Hotchkiss drive. See also Hotchkiss gun and Hotchkiss machine gun for other products of the Hotchkiss company, whose full name was Society Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements Hotchkiss et Cie.
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