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The History of Renault

Renault Megane

The Renault Corporation was established in France on 25 February 1899 as a vehicle manufacturer, producing a variety of cars and vans. It was established by Renault brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand, with Louis being an aspiring engineer who designed and built several cars at an early age. His brothers joined him later, helping manage the company, which went on to design and manufacture vans, public transport and farmyard equipment. The Renault badge was created in 1900 and initially contained the brothers’ initials, but went on to be a gear shape, and a tank during the war, before settling on the diamond we recognise today in 1925.

The first Renault car built was the Voiturette 1CV, which was sold to a family friend on Christmas Eve 1898. Just 7 years later, the brothers sold a number of Renault AG1s which were to become a fleet of taxis, and were eventually used by the French army to move troops during the First World War. The Renault brothers noticed the opportunity for a future in motorsport and further became a well-known name in Europe after success in early intercity racing. Tragically, Marcel was killed in a racing accident at the early part of the 20th Century, which led to Louis never racing again. Renault as a company, however, has remained very much involved in racing to this day and has been a huge name in Formula One since the 70s, as well as modern Rallying.

Renault also went on to manufacture buses and cargo vehicles, as well as planes and even military tanks. In 1908, ten years after the first car was sold, Renault became the largest car manufacturer in the country, having produced over 3,500 cars. At 3000 francs, cars were deemed a luxury, and it could take a decade for a member of the public to be able to save enough to buy one. Notable Renault cars include the Renault Frégate, the 1974 Renault 15 coupe and the 1991 Renault Clio, which has been consistently one of Europe´s top-selling cars since its launch.

In terms of production, in 2011 Renault was named the third biggest European car maker after Volkswagen and PSA, the company who sell Peugeot and Citroën. As for the present and the future, the company has been strategic partners with Japanese manufacturers Nissan since 1999, and together they sell over 1 in 10 of every modern car sold around the world. They’re also keen on developing electric cars and have invested billions of dollars into research and testing.

published: 31/01/2014 15:27:30

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