The history of this French automobile corporation began in the distant 19th century. It began, in fact, with the workshop of the outstanding inventor Louis Renault. The role of this person in the development of the world of cars is difficult to overestimate, if not impossible.
Louis started with a major overhaul of a primitive three-wheeled vehicle De Dion Bouton (A car is a miracle of technology in our times and it is difficult to call it). The resulting design turned out to be so successful that it could even be sold, especially since buyers were found quickly. Louis without hesitation equips in the suburbs of Paris, the town of Boulogne-Billancourt (Boulogne-Billancourt), a small workshop (in fact a barn *), and begins small-scale production. Soon, such fundamentally new solutions appear on the cars he assembles, such as the direct transmission developed by him. For the first time in history, a cardan shaft so common today is installed.
The talented engineer was helped by his older brothers, with whose financial support he founded the company Renault Freres (its full name looked like this: Société Renault Frères in Boulogne-Billancourt). Models it produces AG-1 dispersed in an unimaginable circulation for those times - more than 350 pieces.
The beginning of the 20th century is a golden era in history Renault. Although, in the life of Louis himself in 1902, a tragedy occurred - his brother Marcel crashed during the race. But in general, it was regular victories in auto racing that played a role, becoming an excellent advertisement. In 1904 Renault Freres becomes the most profitable European car company, and its owners become millionaires. Cars of this brand are becoming deservedly popular both in France and other countries, including Russia. Louis begins to expand the range of products: in addition to racing and production models, buses, trucks and even agricultural equipment begin to be produced. The number of workers at the company's factories is already in the thousands.
|Renault 8 CV Type AG taxi (image from official website)
World War I brought Renault glory in another field - the company begins to produce military equipment, including tanks FT-17. It was then that Louis Renault received the nickname "savior of France" from the people. **. The success of Renault tanks was so high that for some time the company used a logo with their image. But where the rhombus that has existed to this day came from is told by two versions. According to one, the first Renault cars equipped with a radiator had a diamond-shaped grille covering it, which they later decided to perpetuate in the logo. According to the second, this rhombus is also a tribute to the legendary tanks, since, being lined with horizontal stripes, it resembled the traces left by them.
At the end of the war, Renault still wins races, produces a diverse range of automotive vehicles. And although there is a certain stagnation in the development of the company, it feels good. Even despite the competition from compatriots - Peugeot и Citroen.
During the Second World War, France was completely and very quickly captured by Germany. And, in order to save their factories, 67-year-old Louis Renault colludes with the occupiers. This decision, in the future, will cost him too much - after the end of the war, Louis was accused of treason. Sic transit gloria mundi ***. The elderly inventor ended up in prison, where he soon died (according to some sources, from severe beatings). Factories Renault were nationalized and remain so to this day. The name of Louis Renault was consigned to oblivion - even on the official website of the company it is written in passing. The new name of the company sounded like this - Regie Nationale des Usines Renault. Phrase same Regie Nationale ("National state monopoly") for some time flaunted on the logo, which has finally acquired its diamond shape.
|Laguna Coupe (image from the official website)
The further history of the company is not much different from many similar ones. Constant development, the emergence of new models, both successful and not very successful (perhaps the most successful was 4CV, also known as “katr shvo” - “four horses”, produced without interruption for 15 years). To list them, you will need more than one article, and even more than one book. Many of these models have become real bestsellers. The successful performance of its cars in Formula 1 and other races also makes a wonderful advertisement. The production of military equipment also continues.
The company's headquarters is located in the same Boulogne-Billancourt. What used to be Louie's little barn has grown into a huge complex that employs tens of thousands of people. From a tiny company Renault turned into a huge corporation that owns the Eastern European Dacia and South Korean Samsung Motors. Renault also owns almost half of the shares Nissan and a quarter of the shares AvtoVAZ.
At the end of the last century, an original trial took place in France. Human rights activists tried to force the parents of one girl to change her birth name. The girl (then she was 3 years old) was named Megan. And everything would be fine, but the family name was so common in France - Renault. So human rights activists decided that Renault Megan would be constantly ridiculed by peers. Parents, however, refused to change anything. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find out how it all ended.
*) Many famous companies are proud of their "garage" origins. According to the legend, "out of the garage" came out Apple (however, other information refutes this information), as well as another computer manufacturer - the company Hewlett Packard. Moreover, Renault и Hewlett Packard still keep their native garages as museum pieces.
**) The most original thing is that Louis received such a high nickname not at all for military trucks and not tanks, but for a taxi Renault 8CV Type AG (photo above). On the day of the decisive offensive of the German troops on Paris, it was thanks to these vehicles that it was possible to quickly transfer infantry reserves and, at the cost of incredible efforts, stop the Germans.