The P4 responds to the need, formulated in the late 1960s by the French army, to replace its 10,000 Jeeps. The characteristics of the new vehicle had to meet the following constraints: transport 4 people with their equipment and a radio set and have an aptitude for air transport and parachuting.
After many delays, it was not until the late 1970s that the design of a replacement for the Jeep Hotchkiss was launched. A license agreement is concluded between Peugeot and Mercedes-Benz in order to equally distribute the construction of the new military vehicle. Prototypes were tested in 1980 by the 15th RCS in Limoges.
From the end of 1982, the Sochaux factory began to assemble the P45. Peugeot then installed the gasoline engine of its 504 on the G-Class, the gearbox of its 604, took care of the electrical circuits, carried out the welding of the body and provided the cataphoresis treatment. Everything else is made by the German manufacturer.
A first prototype rolled in 1978 and began a long series of tests, notably during a rally in southern Algeria with two P4s, one gasoline and the other diesel.
In 1981, the French army ordered 15,000 units of the P4 (petrol and diesel combined), a contract ultimately reduced to 13,500 units following the drop in the army's workforce. From 1985, production was transferred to the Panhard factory in Marolles-en-Hurepoix, where 6,000 vehicles were produced.