Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was born in Watertown, Connecticut in 1826 .
He became a skilled designer in the family's engineering business with a passion for weapons but having failed to interest the US Government in his designs he moved to France where he set up the Hotchkiss Company in 1867.
By the In 1930's Hotchkiss had become involved in producing a range of multi-wheel drive military vehicles in conjunction with the Laffly Company.
Laffly-Hotchkiss vehicles included cars, ambulances, tankers, carriers, and prime movers and were more often than not designed by Laffly but with Hotchkiss engines and often manufactured by both companies. Almost all the larger military vehicles featured the additional set of small front wheels to help the vehicle overcome obstacles.
With World War II nearing, the Front Populaire Government nationalized the body stamping and armament side of the company. They began producing military vehicles and light tanks.
In 1942 the Peugeot Company purchased the Hotchkiss Company. By 1946 production of the Hotchkiss vehicles resumed with the production of tractors and light trucks.
In 1954 the Hotchkiss Company merged with Delahaye to become Societe Hotchkiss-Delahaye.
In 1955 the French Army took advantage of Hotchkiss' licence from Willys and ordered some new MB jeeps to meet its growing need for jeeps. This was only ever meant to be a stop gap measure whilst waiting for the new improved Delahaye jeep to be produced. Like the first civilian jeeps Hotchkiss produced the first batch of licence MBs had to be assembled from imported parts.
In 1956 Hotchkiss merged with Brandt to create Hotchkiss-Brandt and it was from the Brandt factory (complete with test track) in Stains on the Northern outskirts of Paris that the majority of the 27,628 Hotchkiss M201 jeeps based on the original MB design were produced for the French Government between 1957 and 1966.
Again in 1966 the company was again taken over to become Thomson-Houston. The company produced military vehicles from 1967 through 1971.