Renault is a French manufacturer headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt a suburb of Paris city. It was founded as the Société Renault Frères in 1899 by brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand Renault. The French automaker first produced the Renault Voiturette 1CV and then in 1903 began to manufacture its own engines.
It first major sale was in 1905 to the French Government to whom it sold its AG1 branded cars which became public taxis. Over the next two years Renault sold a large numbers of cars in the UK and America and in 1908 it had produced over 3,500 units allowing it to become the largest car maker in France.
Renault participated heavily in the earliest forms of motor racing to gain publicity but gave it up personally when of their trio, Marcel Renault was killed in a road accident. The company continued to participate in racing and has a major involvement till date with various forms of car racing.
The company branched out into heavy vehicles and developed techniques to mass produce cars and consequently bring their prices down. With the onset of WW1, it all branched out into making ammunition, tanks and aeroplanes.
When the war ended, Renault further expanded its design and scope of operations to include tractors and other farm equipment. Its first vehicle to be shown to the public was the 2CV compact car as well as the 4CV compact car which was developed in secrecy during the end stage of the WW2. It further expanded its range of cars over the next 20 years in a variety of body styles including commercial vehicles which were the need of the hour to rebuild liberated France and then help shape its economic history.
The French manufacturer soon began a naming convention which including serialising the names depending on the various body styles. It continued this practice well into the mid-1990s and only then began giving its cars full names. During this period it began collaboration with various manufacturers across the world giving it presence in South East Asia, North America as well as Australia. It also acquired Romanian automaker Dacia which had been known for producing fuel efficient cars.
Renault went through a major restructuring in the late 1980s and collaborated with Volvo and withdrew from a lot of the motorsports it had entered to reduce costs. It began on a revitalisation process and soon began to take steps like a new nomenclature and expansion to various markets.
In 1996, the French automaker went private after it was felt that the government involvement was detrimental to the existence of the company. Under the new regime, it ventured into South America and parts of Central Asia as well as into the production of LCVs.
Despite so many measures to change, the company could not revitalise its fortunes and eventually began to follow a plan of cost cutting measures which included standard platforms as well as major organisational changes.
In 1999, it entered into collaboration with Japanese automaker Nissan initially acquiring a 35 per cent stake while Nissan acquired a 15 per cent stake. This was the first time such an alliance had taken place and its magnitude was only secondary to the marriage of cultures that both the automaker’s brought to the table. In addition to the Nissan alliance it also allied with Samsung Motors of South Korea and now sells various rebadged models in the Asian Nation. As of 2010 it also has an alliance with Daimler and produces rebadged models of the German automaker’s line-up.
The French automaker also has a major involvement in motorsports since the late 1970s and was the first manufacturer to bring turbocharged engines to various racing series. It currently supplies engines to a variety of teams in various categories of motorsports including Formula 1 where it ran its own team from 2002-2011 and has since partnered Red Bull Racing since 2008 leading it to four titles from 2010-2014.
Renault India Pvt. Ltd. is a fully owned subsidiary of Renault S.A.S., France and currently offers five models in the Indian market – the premium sedan Fluence, the luxury SUV Koleos, the premium compact car, Pulse, the SUV, Duster and the premium sedan, Scala. Renault India also exports the Duster to right-hand drive markets, with India set to become a production hub for right-hand drive cars.
Renault cars are manufactured in their facility located in Oragadam, Chennai, with a capacity of 480,000 units per annum. Currently, Renault India also has a widespread presence of 130 dealer outlets across the country with benchmark sales and service quality.
The French automaker will, in the future, enter the A-segment with a model based on the Dacia Towny as well as the MPV segment, with the Lodgy, which will be sold with the Renault badge.