Renault


The History of Renault

   

Renault S.A. is a French carmaker producing cars, vans, buses, tractors, and trucks headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt.  The company's most successful car to date is the Renault Clio, and its core market is France.  The company is known for numerous revolutionary designs, security technologies and motor racing.
Producing cars since late 1897, the Renault corporation was founded in 1899 as Société Renault Frères by Louis Renault, his brothers Marcel and Fernand, and his friends Thomas Evert and Julian Wyer. Louis was a bright, aspiring young engineer who had already designed and built several models before teaming up with his brothers, who had honed their business skills working for their father's textiles firm. While Louis handled design and production, Marcel and Fernand handled company management.
The first Renault car, the Renault Voiturette 1CV was sold to a friend of Louis' father after giving him a test ride on 24 December 1898. The client was so impressed with the way the tiny car ran and how it climbed the streets that he bought it.
The Renault reputation for innovation was fostered from very early on. In 1899, Renault launched the first production sedan car. At the time, cars were very much luxury items, and the price of the smallest Renaults available being 3000 francs reflected this; an amount it would take ten years for the average worker at the time to earn. As well as cars, Renault manufactured taxis, buses and commercial cargo vehicles in the pre-war years, and during World War I (1914–18) branched out into ammunition, military airplanes and vehicles such as the revolutionary Renault FT-17 tank.
The pre-First World War cars had a distinctive front shape caused by positioning the radiator behind the engine to give a so called "coalscuttle" bonnet. This continued through the 1920s and it was not until 1930 that all models had the radiator at the front. The bonnet badge changed from circular to the familiar and continuing diamond shape in 1925.
Endangered like all of the motor industry by the energy crisis, during the mid seventies the already expansive company diversified further into other industries and continued to expand globally, including into South East Asia. The energy crisis also provoked Renault's attempt to reconquer the North American market; despite the Dauphine's success in the United States in the late 1950s, and an unsuccessful car-assembly project in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, (1964–72), Renault as a stand-alone brand, began to disappear from North America at the end of the '70s.
Throughout the decades Renault developed a collaborative partnership with Nash Motors Rambler and its successor American Motors Corporation (AMC). From 1962 to 1967, Renault assembled complete knock down (CKD) kits of the Rambler Classic sedans in its factory in Belgium. Renault did not have large or luxury cars in its product line and the "Rambler Renault" would be aimed as an alternative to the Mercedes-Benz "Fintail" cars. Similar to the fate of some of these Mercedes cars at the time, many of these "American" Renaults finished their life working as taxis. Later, Renault would continue to make and sell a hybrid of AMC's Rambler American and Rambler Classic called the Renault Torino in Argentina (sold through IKA-Renault). Renault partnered with AMC on other projects, such as development of a rotary concept engine in the late 60s, and would eventually own AMC in 1980.
In the late seventies and early eighties Renault increased its involvement in motorsport, with novel inventions such as turbochargers in their Formula One cars. The company's road car designs were revolutionary also — the Renault Espace was one of the first minivans and was to remain the most well-known minivans in Europe for at least the next two decades. The second-generation Renault 5, the European Car of the Year-winning Renault 9, and the most luxurious Renault yet, the 25 were all released in the early 1980s, building Renault's reputation, but at the same time the company suffered from poor product quality which reflected badly in the image of the brand and the ill-fated Renault 14 is seen by many as the culmination of these problems in the early 1980s.
It was eventually decided that the company's state-owned status was detrimental to its growth, and Renault was privatized in 1996. This new freedom allowed the company to venture once again into Eastern Europe and South America, including a new factory in Brazil and upgrades for the infrastructure in Argentina and Turkey.
Renault owns Samsung Motors (Renault Samsung Motors) and Dacia, as well as retaining a minority (but controlling) stake (20%) in the Volvo Group.  Renault also owns 44.5% of Nissan, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault. This is the basis for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which is now in its 10th year.
Motorsport has long been recognised as an effective marketing tool for car manufacturers. In the late seventies and early eighties, Renault began to involve itself more heavily in motorsport, setting up a dedicated motorsport division called Renault Sport, and winning the Le Mans 24 Hours (with the Renault Alpine A442, built in collaboration with newly-acquired Alpine) while achieving success in both rallying (with the Renault 5 Turbo) and Formula One. Initially, Renault's entry into Formula One in 1977 was ridiculed when the team's first design included such curiosities as a turbocharger (built by Garrett). However, the team was to win their first race on home soil in Dijon a mere two years later and by the early eighties, every front-running Formula One team used turbochargers.

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