The 405 was the French manufacturer's first attempt at a front-wheel drive mid-size car. It replaced the much-respected 505 and had quite a reputation to live up to. That it became a huge success for Peugeot is due mostly to a superb chassis plus strong and reliable mechanicals. There was also an incredibly wide model range that seemed to offer something for every niche of the family and company-car markets in which it competed.
The 405 saloon was replaced in 1996 by a similar looking model, the 406, though the new car was substantially changed. In the eight years that the 405 saloon was in production (the estate lived on into 1997 until the 406 version arrived), it helped Peugeot gain a big increase in UK market share. It also gave the company that elusive breakthrough into the fleet market, helped by assembling the 405 at Ryton to give it a 'Built in Britain' image.