birth of Marius Berliet

birth of Marius Berliet

Marius Berliet was born on January 21, 1866 in Lyon, in the Croix-Rousse district. He was the son of a canut, a hat weaver, but this in no way hindered his brilliant future in the automobile industry.

At the age of 15, Marius Berliet joined his father as an apprentice weaver, but continued to take evening classes in mechanics and English at the Société d'Enseignement Professionnel du Rhône. At the age of 24, he opened his father's business to artificial leather and fabric embossing and created his own ribbon winding machine. First step towards innovation, progress and mechanics.

Passionate about mechanics, he created his first car in 1895 and settled in several premises: a 90m² premises that he bought in 1899, a 450m² workshop that he rented in 1900 and the acquisition of the Audibert and Lavirotte factories of 5000m² in 1902.

A climate of strong industrial automobile competition reigned in Lyon, as many small manufacturers were emerging. In 1905, Berliet's industrial future was propelled by the sale of licenses for three cars to the ALCO (American Locomotive Company). The ALCO locomotive became the emblem of the Berliet logo, a sign of recognition. From then on, Marius Berliet's company never ceased to expand and reached all continents through its exports and the creation of subsidiaries (in Morocco, Algeria, China, Cuba, etc.).


During the Second World War, the Berliet factories were forced to supply their production to the occupied zone. They were placed in receivership at the end of the war and the company was returned to the family in 1949. It was also in 1949, on May 17, that Marius Berliet died.

Before his death, he appointed Paul Berliet as his successor as head of the family. He took over the management of the company in 1950, alongside Emile Parfait, President of Automobiles Marius Berliet.

Reference: Fondation Berliet