|The VeloBase.com History of Gitane
In 1925 Marcel Brunelière started producing farming machinery in Machecoul, France. As a side buisness he produced parts for bicycles. The following year he opened a shop for the production of bicycles under the name Marbru (Marcel Brunelière). The name Gitane -which means gipsy in english and has been Marcel Brunelière's nickname- was first introduced in 1930, where in a small workshop of 10 people produced frames. Larger scale production started in 1940 when the company started producing complete bicycles. In the early 1950's the company was renamed Cycles Gitane and they started producing both bicycles and motorcycles. Again in 1960 the company's name changed into Micmo SA to get sold in 1976 to the Renault group.
US Distribution of Gitane bicycles ceased in the late 80's, while at the same time several Gitane factories in France closed, bringing all production back under one roof in Machecoul. In 1992 Gitane combined with Peugoet and B.H. (from spain) to become Cycleurope. In 1997 Cycleurope was purchased by Monark Stiga, which itself became in 1999 part of the also Swedish company Grimaldi Industri AB who also aquired Bianchi and several other notable brand names. Today the brand Gitane is still in use for bicycles. Sources: http://www.gitaneusa.com/history.asp