The arrival of the Simca Aronde marked the start of the company's growth through the decade and onward, transforming the business focus from a manufacturer of spare parts on an exclusive contract to Italian auto giant Fiat into the largest privately- owned carmaker in France.
It didn't appear that way in May 1951 when Simca first launched the first Aronde. Although the response to the car was positive and sales relatively buoyant, it rapidly emerged that the Aronde had more than its share of teething problems and sales began to taper off to a trickle,
To their credit, Simca took all the time and expense to iron out these " glitches", and within a year the Aronde had regained all of its original impetus. The French public was becoming increasingly mobile as the Fifties progressed, and the Aronde fitted nicely into a niche where the mass demand was.
Simca developed three versions of the Aronde, first the 9, in production from 1951 to 1955, after which it was replaced by the 90A which ran through to 1958.
The last and probably the best version of the Aronde was the P60, which was released in 1958 and remained in production until discontinued in 1964.The first Aronde debuted in time for the Paris Motor Show in the spring of 1951, although, due to a series of production problems, the first cars only became available for sale in October of that year. On its launch the only version of the Aronde on the market was a four-door saloon, but, as was their policy, Simca began to rapidly release other configurations such as a three-door estate, which was remarkable for its horizontally split tailgate. There was also a panel van and a "commerciale semi-vitrée" - a cross between a panel van and estate. All of these Arondes were fitted with the same front-mounted 1221 cc 44.5 bhp (33.2 kW) engine used on the Aronde's predecessor- the Simca 8. In October 1957, Simca launched two new variations of the Aronde range- a two-seater cabriolet, labelled the Aronde Oceane and the Plein Ciel, a 2-seater coupé.
Although they had the appearance of a classic two-seater convertible, the Aronde Oceane and Plein Ciel weren't particularly fast, drawing its power from Simca’s 1290cc 39 cu in four-cylinder engine that could generate 57bhp.
When the Oceane and Plein Ciel were first launched, comparisons were rapidly made to the top-selling the soft US designed and produced Ford Thunderbird.
Hardly surprising as the company had often drawn the inspiration for the styling of its cars from the United States.
An achievement that was even remarkable since it came from almost a standing start, was the around 1.4 million Arondes produced during its thirteen-year run.