Renault company was founded in 1898 by Louis Renault. First car was equipped with engine of 0.75 hp power only. The next stage – A model – had 1.75 hp engine and was very successful. In 1899 Renault brothers have already sold 15 cars of this model. Louis Renault was the first who applied device for drive torque transmission to rear wheels via universal joint shaft. Principle of this gearbox has remained unchanged until present days for rear-driven cars.
Since 1900 the company has begun production of large and powerful vehicles. Taxi with “landaulet” body was issued in 1905. This car even has a monument for its achievements during the First World War. The first Renault bus was announced in Berlin auto show in 1906. By the way Renault has produced not only passenger cars – model line of the company includes some customized models of blitzbugs.
Renault was very popular in Russia. In particular, one of models was bought for the heir to the throne and called as Renault Bebe. In USSR Renault was not passed by – these cars were bought for Moscow taxi ( they competed with “laurent-ditrich” of Adam Kozlevitch in famous story by I. Ilf and E. Petrov). Renault's equipment and technology have become the basis for future Automobile plant named after Leninist komsomol.
After war company’s plants were almost fully destroyed by Allies bombs and Louis Renault himself has died in prison accused in collaboration with Nazi. In 1945 the company became a government enterprise and acquired its present name. In 1946 Renault presented its 4CV mass model which together with famous Citroen 2CV resurrected French automobile industry. In 1945 was issued five hundred thousands items of 4CV. In 1958 in Cleon (Normandy) was launched new plant for power units production. Renault 4 was issued in large amount of 8 mlns cars. In 1996 Renault has signed a contract with Peugeot and Volvo on merging of technical resources. In 70-ies the company expanded rapidly and on the North of France new plants were built. Since 1979 after signing of appropriate agreement with American Motors Corporation Renault begun market promotion. In US Renault 9 was produced under Alliance brand and had won the title of “Car of the year”.
Now Renault continues production of traditional European small cars as far as pays attention to trucks. Next model can be outlined as interesting development of the company. It is equipped with engine running as conventional liquid fuel as electricity.
At present days Renault is produced in France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Columbia, Argentine, Morocco, Malaysia and Uruguay. To continue its historical connections Renault signed an agreement with Moscow Automobile plant named after Leninist komsomol. At present day Autoframos plant operates which produces Renault Logan.
Last years Renault designers experiment a lot. Renault Scenic model is parent of new car class represented by compact minivan of big volume and lots of saloon transformations with modest appearance. Avantime and Vel Satis models are representative cars as it seemed by Renault's designers.