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Renault is a French automaker that produces not only cars but also (heavy) trucks, vans; forestry, industrial, and farm machinery; engines; machine tools; etc. It’s headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt.
History: Passion for Life
Renault’s success story is about devotion to a child’s hobby. This is how a tiny workshop became a huge, extremely profitable corporation. Its cooperation with Nissan makes the automaker the fourth largest one in the world.
The company was founded by three brothers Louis, Marcel, and Fernand Renault in 1899. Among them, only Louis had a gift for engineering; the two others took care of a financial aspect of the enterprise. A shed beside their house was Louis’s workshop for the first time. There, he converted a three-wheel carriage into a four-wheel car, which ran on a direct drive system that was invented and later patented by him.
Between 1898 and 1903, Louis constructed a light voiturette (a miniature car) that had capacity of just 0.75 horsepower. Although such an invention may seem insignificant to us, in the XXI century, at that time it was a huge leap forward in automobile industry in particular and technical progress in general. The next invention, the Model A of 1.75 horsepower, laid the foundation for the Renault Fréres (the full name was Société Renault Frères in Boulogne-Billancourt) company.
The newly established company developed rather quickly. It grew not only quantitatively but qualitatively, too: in 1902, Louis built a four-cylinder 24 hp engine. Moreover, the Renault cars started to participate in racing. A number of victories in this kind of sports provided the company with the clientele who were ready to pay any sum of money for the autos.
The economic crisis of the 30s forced Renault to widen the range of products they made. Consequently, the company began to make trucks, buses, tractors, electric railcars, and airplane engines.
At the time of the WWII, Louis Renault agreed with German occupiers upon making military equipment for them in order to save his plants from destroying. Who knew this decision for the sake of the business would be so costly. The plants were ruined all the same (by the allies); Louis was convicted of assisting Nazis and died in prison.
In order to avoid bankruptcy, the French government nationalized Renault in 1945. Soon, the successful 4CV was launched. It was followed by the Dauphine in 1956, which was a top seller not only in France but abroad, too. In fact, the CAT transport company was set up especially to satisfy high demand for this model in different world’s countries.
A new line-up, launched in the 90s, also appeared very successful. It included the Clio, the Espace, the Twingo, the Laguna, and the Mégane. Its modernized, improved models have been produced up to the present. Besides, there are the Captur, the New Espace, the Kadjar, the Sandero, and the Duster.
The very first logo of the Renault company was introduced in 1900. Then, it featured the initials of its founders – Louis, Marcel, and Fernand Renault.
In 1925, the diamond-shaped logo of the automaker was represented for the first time. However, it’s Victor Vasarely who designed the logo we know well today. Retaining its basic diamond shape, he added angular lines and removed the marque’s name. The new design made the logo look more dynamic and consistent.
The modern logo came from 1992 with some modifications introduced afterwards: a yellow square and the brand’s name were added.
As for the colours used on the logo, they aren’t random. Silver symbolizes sophistication, creativity, and perfection, while yellow stands for joy, optimism, energy, and prosperity.
As it was already mentioned, Renault’s line-up of the 90s was favourably accepted. In 1991, the Clio was awarded the title of the Car of the Year, Renault Ligne became the Truck of the Year, and Renault FR1 – the Bus of the Year.
Renault is one of the first car manufacturers to produce a hybrid car. The Renault Next concept car’s petrol engine ran together with an electric one.
In 1999, the company acquired Dacia and 43% of shares at Nissan in exchange for its own 15%. In 2012, Renault purchased 67% of shares at AvtoVAZ.
Soon after having concluded an association agreement with Nissan, the Avantime, on the basis of the Espace model, rolled out. It was a very successful attempt to transform a minivan into a luxurious car. In the 2000s, the Laguna II became the first auto in the world which safety was granted the highest estimate as for the results of the Euro NCAP 2003 crush tests.
Popular Renault Models: