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The History of Renault

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Renault

The History of Renault

Levi Quinn
June 15, 2010

Levi Quinn
http://www.autoinsuranceratesdirect.com

Renault is an auto making company that makes trucks, tractors, vans, buses and personal cars and it is based in France. The company has an association with Nissan and this makes it the fourth largest carmaker in the world. The company also owns Renault Samsung Motors, which is Korean, and Automobile Dacia, which is Romanian. The company's headquarter is in Boulogne-Billancourt. Renault Clio is the company's most successful model and the company's biggest market is in France.

The first Renault car was produced in 1897, but the company was established in 1899. Three brothers, Louis, Marcel and Fernand Renault together with Louis's friends Julian Wyer and Thomas Evert, established Renault. Before the establishment of Societe Renault Freres, Louis had been an aspiring engineer and he had built some cars before the corporation came into being. He incorporated his brothers because they had business skills that they had gotten from working in a textiles firm owned by their father. Louis Renault was the designer and he handled manufacturing and the brothers handled management. As a corporation, the first car that the company made was Renault Voiturette 1CV. The brothers popularized their cars by racing and the company got instant success. The racers were Marcel and Louis Renault, but sadly, Marcel died in a race in 1903. The Renault AK 90CV was the first vehicle to win a Grand Prix race - this was in 1906.

Renault made its first sedan in 1899 when cars were seen as expensive toys. In the pre-First World War years, Renault also ventured into taxis, cargo vehicles, and buses. The company contributed to the Allies' efforts during the First World War by venturing into tanks, military planes, and ammunition. The Allies honored Louis Renault for his contribution. After the World War I, Renault established itself as France's biggest private manufacturer and it started exporting four-cylinder engines overseas for vehicles such as GJG. From 1918, Renault started producing industrial and agricultural machinery. However, the company's cars struggled due to 'people's cars' that ware more affordable.

Following France surrendered to the Germans in 1940, Louis Renault was asked to manufacture tanks for Nazi Germany which had taken control of his factories. He refused to do this and he ended up producing trucks for them. After the war, he was accused by the government of being a collaborator and arrested. He died in jail in 1944 and the government seized the factories and his assets. Following the nationalization of Renault, the company experienced unprecedented growth and the rear engine 4CV model was able to rival the popular Volkswagen Beetle and Morris Minor. Renault Fregate, produced from 1951 to 1960, was also successful. However, the company did not perform optimally because of constant labor unrest.

The current logo was designed in 1972 as part of a brand revamp and the Renault 5 hatchback was launched. The company experienced some economic hardships, with a deficit of twelve and a half billion francs in 1984, but by 1987, the company was stable. Renault was revitalized in the 90s and this was aided greatly by the success of Renault Megane and Megane Scenic. Today, the company is financially stable.

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