Mécanique Avion TRAction or Matra is a French company covering a wide range of activities mainly related to aeronautics and weaponry which today operates as the Lagardère Group.

Matra was owned my the Floirat family. The name Matra became famous in the 1960s when it went into car production by buying Automobiles René Bonnet. Matra Automobiles produced racing cars and sports cars, and was very successful in racing.

By merging with various companies Matra CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère built around Matra a group diversified in medias, weaponery, high technologies, aeronautics and formerly in records production and distribution. A major part of this was the purchase of Hachette and the merger with WEA-Filippachi in 1981. This was merged with Matra in 1992 to form Matra Hachette Filippachi. The group is now named the Lagardère Group and Matra is a brand of the Lagardère Group.


Matra Hautes Technologies (Matra High Technology)

Matra Hautes Technologies (MHT) was the defence arm of Matra. The company was involved in aerospace, defence and telecommunications. In February 1999 Matra Hautes Technologies merged with aérospatiale to form aérospatiale-Matra. On July 10 2000 aérospatiale-Matra became part of EADS.

Divisions (as of aérospatiale merger)

Matra road cars

The Matra name was first used for road cars with the Renault-powered Matra Djet (pronounced "Jet"), which was an update of the Bonnet Jet.

The Djet was replaced with the Matra 530, which was powered by a Ford Taunus V4 engine. Matra also developed a close partnership with Simca in the 1970s, producing Simca-engined sports cars such as the Bagheera, the Murena and the Rancho, an early type of SUV - albeit that it was two-wheel-drive - which was based on the Simca 1100 pick-up bodyshell. This car remained in production into the '80s, after Simca's takeover by Peugeot.

In 1984 Matra designed the Renault Espace, a popular success.

After the failure of the Renault Avantime (build by Matra), on February 27, 2003 Matra annouced its intention to close its automobile factory in Romorantin. In September 2003, Pininfarina SpA acquired Matra Automobile's engineering, testing and prototype businesses. The was subsequently named Matra Automobile Engineering (

Street models

Matra racing history

Matra entered Formula One in 1968 and Jackie Stewart became world champion driving a semi-official Cosworth-powered Matra entered by the British Tyrrell team in 1969. The firm was also successful in endurance racing with cars powered by its own V12 engine. The Matra 670 won le Mans in 1972, 1973, and 1974.

F1 Drivers

Other activities

External links

Matra is also the name of a commune of the Haute-Corse département in France, on the island of fr:Matra it:Matra


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