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Renault S.A. is a French vehicle manufacturer producing cars, vans, buses, tractors, and trucks. The company is well known for numerous revolutionary designs, security technologies and motor racing.
When its cars were exported to the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, the name was commonly mispronounced as "ren-alt" to and by the American public, and the Americanised pronunciation continues in common usage, though the original French has gained significant ground over recent years. In the United Kingdom it is pronounced "ren-o" though the French pronunciation is closer to "ruh-no".
Foundation and early years (1898-1918)
Producing cars since late 1898, the Renault corporation was founded in 1899 as Société Renault Frères by Louis Renault, his brothers Marcel and Fernand, and his friend Thomas Evert. Louis was a bright, aspiring young engineer who had already designed and built several models before teaming up with his brothers, who had honed their business skills working for their father's textiles firm. While Louis handled design and production, Marcel and Fernand handled company management.
The first Renault car, the Renault Voiturette 1CV was sold to a friend of Louis' father after giving him a test ride on December 24 1898. The client was so impressed with the way the tiny car ran and how it climbed the streets that he bought it.
The brothers immediately recognized the publicity that could be obtained for their vehicles by participation in motor racing and Renault made itself known through achieving instant success in the first city-to-city races held in France, resulting in rapid expansion for the company. Both Louis and Marcel Renault raced company vehicles, but Marcel was killed in an accident during the 1903 Paris-Madrid race. Although Louis Renault never raced again, his company remained very involved, including their Renault AK 90CV winning the first ever Grand Prix motor racing event in 1906. Louis was to take full control of the company as the only remaining brother in 1906 when Fernand retired for health reasons.
The Renault reputation for innovation was fostered from very early on. In 1899, Renault launched the first production sedan car as well as patenting the first turbocharger. At the time, cars were very much luxury items, and the price of the smallest Renaults available being 3000 francs reflected this; an amount it would take ten years for the average worker at the time to earn. As well as cars, Renault manufactured taxis, buses and commercial cargo vehicles in the pre-war years, and during World War I (1914 - 1918) branched out into ammunition, military airplanes and vehicles such as the revolutionary Renault FT-17 tank. Renault became the world's leading manufacturer of airplane engines, and the success of the company's military designs were such that Renault himself was honored by the Allies for his company's contributions to their victory. By the end of the war, Renault was the number one private manufacturer in France.
Inter-war years (1919-1938)
Between both world wars, Louis Renault enlarged the scope of his company, producing agricultural and industrial machinery. However, Renault struggled to compete with the increasingly popular small, affordable "people's cars", while problems with the stock market and the workforce also adversely affected the company's growth. Renault also had to find a way to distribute its vehicles more efficiently. In 1920, he signed one of its first distribution contracts with Gustave Gueudet, an entrepreneur from northern France.
The pre-First World War cars had a distinctive front shape caused by positioning the radiator behind the engine to give a so called "coalscuttle" bonnet. This continued through the 1920s and it was not until 1930 that all models had the radiator at the front. The bonnet badge changed from circular to the familiar and continuing diamond shape in 1925.
Renault produced a range of cars from small to very large. For example in 1928 which was the year when Renault produced 45,809 cars the range of 7 models started with a 6cv, a 10cv, the Monasix, 15cv, the Vivasix, the 18/24cv and the 40cv. There was a range of factory bodies, of up to 8 styles, and the larger chassis were available to coachbuilders. The number of a model produced varied with size. The smaller were the most popular with the least produced being the 18/24cv. The most expensive factory body style in each range was the closed cars. Roadsters and tourers (torpedoes) were the cheapest.
The London operation was very important to Renault in 1928. The UK market was quite large and from there "colonial" modified vehicles were dispatched. Lifted suspensions, enhanced cooling and special bodies were common on vehicles sold to the colonies. Exports to the USA by 1928 had almost reduced to zero from their high point prior to WW1 when to ship back a Grand Renault or similar high class European manufactured car was common. A NM 40cv Tourer had a USA list price of over $4,600 being about the same as a V12 Cadillac Tourer. Closed 7 seat limousines started at $6,000 which was more expensive than a Cadillac V16 Limousine.
The whole range was fairly conservative engineered and built. The newly introduced 1928 Vivasix, model PG1, was sold as the "executive sports" model. Lighter weight factory steel bodies powered by a 3180cc six cylinder motor provided a formula that went through to the Second World War.
The "Le Grand Renaults", that is any with over 12 foot wheelbase (3.68m), were produced in very small numbers in two major types - six and eight cylinder. The 1928 six cylinder Le Grand Renault models NM, PI and PZ introduced the new three spring rear suspension that considerably aided road holding that was needed as with some body styles over 90mph was possible. The 8 cylinder Reinastella was introduced in 1929. This model lead on to a range culminating in the 1939 Suprastella. All Grand Renaults from 1923 are classed as classics by CCCA. Coachbuilders included Kellner, Labourdette, J.Rothschild et Fils and Renault bodies. Closed car Renault bodies were often trimmed and interior wood work completed by Rothschild.
The Le Grand Renaults were built using a considerable amount of aluminium. Engines, brakes, transmissions, floor and running boards and all external body panels were aluminium. Unfortunately of the few that were built many went to scrap to aid the War effort.
Post war (1939-1971)
During World War II, Louis Renault's factories worked for Nazi Germany producing trucks with work on cars officially forbidden. He was, for this reason, arrested during the liberation of France in 1944 and died in prison before having prepared his defense. An autopsy later showed that his neck had been broken, suggesting that he was murdered. His industrial assets were seized by the provisional government of France. The Renault factories became a public industry (known as Régie Nationale des Usines Renault) under the leadership of Pierre Lefaucheux.
In the years immediately following its nationalization Renault experienced something of a resurgence, led by the rear engine 4CV model, which was launched in 1946 and proved itself a capable rival for cars such as the Morris Minor and Volkswagen Beetle, its success (more than half a million sold) making sure it remained in production until 1961. There was also a large mechanically conventional 2-litre 4-cylinder car, the Renault Fregate, from 1951 to 1960.
As with earlier Renault models, the company made extensive use of motor racing to promote the 4CV, the car winning both the Le Mans 24 Hours and Mille Miglia races as well as the Monte Carlo rally. However, despite the success of its flagship model, the company continued to be blighted by labor unrest, and indeed continued to be well into the 1980s.
The 4CV's replacement, the Dauphine, sold extremely well as the company expanded production and sales further abroad, including Africa and North America. The car did not sell well in North America and it was outdated by the start of the 1960s. In an attempt to revive its flagging fortunes, Renault launched two cars which were to become phenomenally successful – the Renault 4 and Renault 8 in 1961 and 1962 respectively. The 4 in particular was to continue in production until 1992. Both cars continued Renault's motor racing traditions with great success in rallying, a tradition which was further upheld by collaborations with the Alpine company (which most famously produced the Renault-powered Alpine A110). As well as the 4 and 8, the company achieved success with the more upmarket Renault 16 launched in 1966, which continued Renault's reputation for innovation by being the world's first hatchback larger than subcompact size.
Modern era (1972-1980)
The company's compact and economical Renault 5 model, launched in 1972, was another success, particularly in the wake of the 1973 energy crisis. The 5 remained in production until 1984 when it was replaced by the Super5. The formula was much the same however, and the Super5 inherited its styling lines from its father. Endangered like all of the motor industry by the energy crisis, during the mid seventies the already expansive company diversified further into other industries and continued to expand globally, including into South East Asia. The energy crisis also provoked Renault's attempt to reconquer the North American market; despite the Dauphine's success in the United States in the late 1950s, and an unsuccessful car-assembly project in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec, (1964-1972), Renault had virtually disappeared from North America by the 1970s.
However, in the early part of the decade, when the energy crisis-hit continent required smaller, more economical cars, Renault began to make plans to return through a collaborative partnership with the American manufacturer American Motors Corporation (AMC). From 1962 to 1967, Renault assembled Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits of the Rambler Classic sedans in its factory in Belgium. Renault did not have large or luxury cars in its product line and the "Rambler Renault" was aimed as an alternative to the Mercedes-Benz "Fintail" cars. Similar to the fate of some of these Mercedes cars at the time, many of these "American" Renaults finished their life working as taxis. Later, Renault would continue to make and sell a hybrid of AMC's Rambler American and Rambler Classic called the Renault Torino in Argentina (sold through IKA-Renault). Renault partnered with AMC on other projects, such as development of a rotary concept engine in the late 60s, and would eventually own AMC in 1980.
This was one of a series of collaborative ventures undertaken by Renault in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the company established subsidiaries in Eastern Europe, most notably Dacia in Romania, and South America (many of which remain active to the present day) and forged technological cooperation agreements with Volvo and Peugeot (for instance, for the development of the PRV V6 engine, which was used in Renault 30, Peugeot 604, and Volvo 260 in the late 1970s.).
In the mid 1960s an Australian arm, Renault Australia, was setup in Heidelberg, Melbourne, which would close in 1981. Interestingly Renault Australia did not just concentrate on Renaults, they also built and marketed Peugeots as well.
In North America, Renault formed a partnership with AMC, loaning AMC operating capital and buying a small percentage of the company in late 1979. Jeep was keeping AMC afloat until new products, particularly the XJ Cherokee, could be launched. When the bottom fell out of the 4x4 truck market in early 1980 AMC was in danger of going bankrupt. To protect its investment Renault bailed AMC out with a big cash influx -- at the price of a controlling interest in the company -- 47.5%. Renault quickly replaced some top positions in AMC with their own people.
The Renault-AMC partnership also resulted in the marketing of Jeep vehicles in Europe. Some consider the Jeep XJ Cherokee as a joint AMC/Renault project since some early sketches of the XJ series was done as a collaboration of both Renault and AMC engineers (AMC insisted that the XJ Cherokee was designed by AMC personnel; however, a former Renault engineer designed the Quadra-Link front suspension for the XJ series). The Jeep also used wheels and unique rocking seats from Renault. Part of AMC's overall strategy when the partnership was first discussed was to save manufacturing cost by using Renault sourced parts when practical, and some engineering expertise. This led to the improvement of the venerable AMC in-line six -- a Renault/Bendix based port electronic fuel injection system (usually called Renix) that transformed it into a modern, competitive powerplant with a jump from 110 hp to 177 hp with less displacement (4.0L vs. 4.2L).
The Renault-AMC marketing effort in passenger cars was not as successful compared to the popularity for Jeep vehicles. This was because by the time the Renault range was ready to become established in the American market, the second energy crisis was over, taking with it much of the trend for economical, compact cars. Renault sold some interesting models in the USA in the 1980s, especially the simple looking but fun Renault Alliance GTA (Renault 9) and GTA convertible – a real automatic-top convertible with a simple but clean euro-style design featuring a gently sloping hood, as well as a 2.0 L engine - big for a car of its class; and the ahead-of-its-time Renault Fuego coupe; Renault sold other models in the US during the 1980s. However, Renault sold AMC to Chrysler in 1987 after the assassination of Renault’s chairman, Georges Besse. The Renault Medallion (25 in Europe) sedan and wagon was sold from 1987 to 1989 through Jeep-Eagle dealerships. Jeep-Eagle was the new division Chrysler created out of the former American Motors. However, Renault products were no longer imported into the United States after 1989.
A completely new full-sided 4-door sedan, the Eagle Premier, was developed during the partnership between AMC and Renault. The Premier design, as well as its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bramalea, Ontario, Canada, were the starting point for the sleek LH sedans such as the Eagle Vision and Chrysler 300M.
In the late seventies and early eighties Renault increased its involvement in motorsport, with novel inventions such as turbochargers in their Formula One cars. The company's road car designs were revolutionary also – the Renault Espace was one of the first minivans and was to remain the most well-known minivan in Europe for at least the next two decades. The second-generation Renault 5, the European Car Of The Year-winning Renault 9, and the most luxurious Renault yet, the 25 were all released in the early 1980s, building Renault's reputation, but same time the company suffered of poor product quality which reflected badly to the image of the brand and the ill-fated Renault 14 is seen by many as the culmination of these problems in the early 1980s.
Although its cars were somewhat successful both on the road and on the track, Renault was losing a billion francs a month and reported a deficit of 12.5 billion in 1984. The government intervened and Georges Besse was installed as chairman; he set about cutting costs dramatically, selling off many of Renault's non-core assets, withdrawing almost entirely from motorsports, and laying off many employees. This succeeded in halving the deficit by 1986, but he was murdered by the left wing terrorist group Action Directe in November 1986. He was replaced by Raymond Lévy, who continued along the same lines as Besse, slimming down the company considerably with the result that by the end of 1987 the company was more or less financially stable.
A revitalized Renault launched several successful new cars in the early 1990s, including the phenonemonally successful 5 replacement the Clio, the second generation Espace, the innovative Twingo, the Laguna, and the 19. In mid-1990s introduced successor to R19,Renault Mégane, was the first car ever to achieve a 4-star rating, the highest at the time, in EuroNCAP crash test in passenger safety. In 1998 Renault introduced Mégane Scénic, a completely new class of cars, a compact monospace with a footprint of a regular Mégane. The return to success on the road was matched by a return to success on the racetrack – Renault-powered cars won the Formula One World Championship in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997 with Williams, and in 1995 with Benetton.
It was eventually decided that the company's state-owned status was detrimental to its growth, and Renault was privatised in 1996. This new freedom allowed the company to venture once again into Eastern Europe and South America, including a new factory in Brazil and upgrades for the infrastructure in Argentina and Turkey. It also meant the end of the aforementioned successful Formula 1 campaign. It was during this phase of privitisation that Renault released their first company website. It was launched in a beta phase in 1996 and fully developed by 1997.
In the twenty-first century, Renault was to foster a reputation for distinctive, outlandish design. The second generation of the Laguna and Mégane featured ambitious, angular designs which turned out to be highly successful. Less successful were the company's more upmarket models. The Avantime, a bizarre coupé/ multi-purpose mix vehicle, sold very poorly and was quickly discontinued while the luxury Vel Satis model did not sell as well as hoped. However, the design inspired the lines of the second generation Mégane, the most successful car of the maker. As well as its distinctive styling, Renault was to become known for its car safety; currently, it's the car manufacturer with the largest number of models achieving the maximum 5 star rating in EuroNCAP crash tests. The Laguna was the first Renault to achieve a 5 star rating; in 2004 the Modus was the first to achieve this rating in its category.
The government of France owns 15.7 per cent of the company. Louis Schweitzer has been the Chairman of Renault since 1992 and CEO from 1992 to 2005. In 2005, Carlos Ghosn (also CEO of Nissan) became Renault's CEO, with Louis Schweitzer staying on as Chairman.
As of 2004, Renault was the fifth most popular car maker in the United Kingdom behind the Ford Motor Company, Vauxhall Motors, Peugeot and Volkswagen. The most popular French car in the UK is currently the Renault Clio, which has been a strong seller throughout Europe since its launch 14 years ago.
For 2004 Renault reported a 43% rise in net income to 3.5 billion € and 5.9% operating margin, of which Nissan contributed 1,767 million €. The Group (Renault, Dacia, Renault Samsung Motors) posted a 4.2% increase in worldwide sales to a record 2,489,401 vehicles, representing a global market share of 4.1%. Renault retained its position as the leading brand in Europe with 1.8 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold and market share of 10.8%.
Renault is exhibiting a Hi-Flex Clio 1.6 16v at the 2006 Paris International Agricultural Show. This vehicle, which addresses the Brazilian market, features Renault-developed flexible-fuel engine technology, with a highly versatile engine that can run on fuel containing petrol and ethanol in any proportion (0% to 100% of either)
Renault, together with associated brands Dacia and Renault Samsung, aims to sell 4 million vehicles worldwide in 2010.
On June 30, 2006 the media reported that General Motors convened an emergency board meeting to discuss a proposal by shareholder Kirk Kerkorian to form an alliance between GM and Renault-Nissan. The hastily arranged meeting suggests that GM's board is treating Kerkorian's proposal with urgency. Coincidentally, unsubstantiated rumours have been circulating about Renault's possible return to the U.S. market. There is speculation that a GM-Renault-Nissan alliance could pave the way for Renault's return to the U.S. market, since GM could eliminate some of its less profitable brands, and offer the owners of dealerships that would otherwise close Renault dealerships.
However, GM CEO Richard Wagner felt that an alliance would benefit Renault's shareholders more than those of GM, and that GM should receive some compensation for it. This did not sit well with Renault; subsequently, talks between GM and Renault have ended on October 4, 2006.
The Renault Nissan Alliance (2000— )
Signed on March 27, 1999, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is the first of its kind involving a Japanese and a French company, each with its own distinct corporate culture and brand identity, linked through cross-shareholding. Renault has a stake of 44.4 per cent in Japanese automaker Nissan while Nissan in turn has a 15 per cent stake (non-voting) in Renault. Together they represent more than 9.8% of the worldwide market (5.74% for Nissan & 4.04% for the Renault group) with sales of 3,597,748 (Nissan) and 2,531,500 (Renault Group), placing the alliance 4th after GM, Toyota & Ford.
The marketing success was also matched by success of their return to the Formula 1 circuit as a manufacturer again after buying the Benetton team. The team went on to win both World Drivers and Constructors championships in 2005 and 2006 ahead of the vastly more experienced Ferrari and McLaren teams.
Current members of the board of directors of Renault are:
- Yves Audvard
- Michel Barbier
- Alain Champigneux
- François de Combret
- Charles de Croisset
- Carlos Ghosn
- Jean-Louis Girdolle
- Itaru Koeda
- Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière
- Dominique de La Garanderie
- Bernard Larrouturou
- Henri Martre
- Jean-Claude Paye
- François Pinault
- Franck Riboud
- Louis Schweitzer
- Georges Stcherbatcheff
- Robert Studer
- 1898 - Louis Renault founded Renault
- 1903 - Marcel Renault dies in a car accident
- 1943 - The Renault factory in Billancourt is attacked by the German army
- 1944 - Louis Renault dies
- 1965 - Taking the idea from the Austin A40 Farina, the first hatchback in the world, the Renault 16 was developed.
- 1972 - Renault enters the new "supermini" market with its R5 hatchback.
- 1977 - Renault enters the small family hatchback market with the R14 - aimed directly at the Volkswagen Golf.
- 1978 - The launch of the Renault 5 Turbo gives Renault its first entrant into the "hot hatchback" market.
- 1979 - Renault buys a stake in American Motors.
- 1981 - The R9 medium sized saloon is elected European Car of the Year.
- 1983 - Renault launches the R11 - a hatchback version of the R9.
- 1984 - Renault enters the executive car market with the large R25 hatchback.
- 1985 - Renault launches the Espace - Europe's first multi-purpose vehicle.
- 1986 - On April 9 the Government of France ruled against the privatization of Renault.
- 1986 - Renault replaces the R18 with the all-new R21 saloon and Savanna seven-seater estate.
- 1987 - Renault sells its stake in American Motors to Chrysler.
- 1988 - The R9 and R11 ranges are replaced by a single model, the R19.
- 1990 - Renault launches the Clio supermini, designed as an eventual replacement for the Renault 5. It is elected European Car of the Year.
- 1991 - The Renault 19 becomes available as a cabriolet.
- 1992 - Louis Schweitzer becomes president of Renault group.
- 1992 - Renault moves into the city car market with its Twingo, a small hatchback with a "cube" design that maximises interior space. It re-enters the executive market with the Safrane, an ultramodern large hatchback which replaces the R25.
- 1995 - Renault 5 production finishes after nearly a quarter of a century. It had been produced in Slovenia since the launch of the Clio in 1990.
- 1995 - Renault replaces the Renault 19 with the Megane, a range of hatchbacks, saloons, estates, coupes and cabriolets.
- 1996 - Renault enters the new "compact MPV" market with its Megane-based Scenic. It is elected European Car of the Year.
- 1996 - The company was privatized to create Renault S.A.
- 1997 - The all-new Espace goes on sale with a more upmarket image than its predecessor, that served the company for over 10 years.
- 1998 - The second generation Clio is launched.
- 1999 - Renault purchased a 36.8 percent equity stake in Nissan the troubled Japanese car maker, injecting $3.5 billion to obtain effective control of the company under Japanese law. Renault vice-president, Carlos Ghosn was parachuted in to turn round the ailing firm. Nissan also owns 15% of Renault in turn.
- 2000 - Renault launches the Laguna II - the first European family car to feature "keyless" entry and ignition.
- 2001 - Renault sold its industrial vehicle subdivision (Renault Véhicules Industriels) to Volvo, which renamed it Renault Trucks in 2002.
- 2002 - Benetton Formula One team formally becomes Renault F1, Renault increases its stake in Nissan to 44.4 percent.
- 2002 - Renault gains another European Car of the Year success with its second generation Megane, a quirky-looked car which is set to form the basis of Nissan's Almera replacement later in the decade.
- 2003 - Renault expands in Megane hatchback range with coupe-cabriolet, estate (SportsTourer) and sedan (SportsSaloon) variants.
- 2004 - The Renault factory in Billancourt is demolished.
- 2005 - Carlos Ghosn becomes president.
- 2005 - The Clio III is elected European Car of the Year and gains plaudits from all over Europe for its class-leading qualities. The previous generation Clio is set to continue for a while until the Twingo II goes on sale.
List of vehicles
Current model line up:
- Twingo (Launched 1992)
- Modus (Launched 2004)
- Clio II (Supermini with hatchback and sedan body styles, launched 1998)
- Clio III (Lutécia III in Japan, launched 2005)
- Kangoo (Launched 1998)
- Trafic (Launched 2003)
- Mégane II (SW, CC, Saloon, Hatch 3 and 5 doors, launched 2002)
- Scénic II (Launched 2003)
- Grand Scénic (Launched 2003)
- Laguna II (Hatchback & Estate, launched 2000)
- Espace IV (& Grand Espace, launched 2002)
- Vel Satis (Launched 2002)
- Renault 4
- Renault 5
- Renault 6
- Renault 7
- Renault 8
- Renault 9
- Renault 10
- Renault 11
- Renault 12
- Renault 14
- Renault 15
- Renault 16
- Renault 17
- Renault 18
- Renault 19
- Renault 20
- Renault 21
- Renault 25
Renault's range is well known for safety. All of the models, except the Trafic, Clio II, Twingo, and Kangoo (the latter two are expected to be replaced soon while the Clio II to end its production in 2008) have obtained the maximum 5-star safety crash-test rating from EuroNCAP, and became the first maker to have seven cars with this rating. Renault Laguna was the first medium-size car to obtain five-star rating, as well as the Modus and Megane in its own category.
Motorsport has long been recognised as an effective marketing tool for automobile manufacturers. In the late seventies and early eighties, Renault began to involve itself more heavily in motorsport, setting up a dedicated motorsport division called Renault Sport, and winning the Le Mans 24 Hours (with the Renault Alpine A442, built in collaboration with newly-acquired Alpine) while achieving success in both rallying (with the Renault 5 Turbo) and Formula One. Initially, Renault's entry into Formula One in 1977 was ridiculed when the team's first design included such curiosities as a turbocharger. However, the team were to win their first race on home soil in Dijon a mere two years later and by the early eighties, every front-running Formula One team used turbochargers.
Renault also took over the Benetton F1 team in 2001, and quickly became very competitive, Fernando Alonso winning Renault's first race in its second incarnation at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix. 2004 saw the Renault team finish a close third in the Constructors' Championsip and in 2005 the team won both Constructors' and Drivers' titles (with Fernando Alonso).
Questions have been raised regarding Renault's commitment to its Formula One team, particularly with the appointment of Carlos Ghosn as CEO. However at the 2005 French Grand Prix Ghosn set out his policy regarding the company's involvement in motorsport:
- "We are not in Formula One out of habit or tradition. We're here to show our talent and that we can do it properly... Formula One is a cost if you don't get the results. Formula One is an investment if you do have them and know how to exploit them."
In short he will continue Renault's investment in F1 as long as the team is successful and can use the resulting publicity for wider commercial gain. Conversely if the team is unsuccessful in future it can be expected that Ghosn will withdraw resources from the sport.
In 2006 Carlos Ghosn finally announced that the team will stay in F1 in the long term (at least until 2012) putting an end to the rumors.
Renault cars have performed well in the European Car of the Year awards. The is Clio the only car since the prize's conception in 1964 to win the award twice.
- 1966: Renault 16
- 1982: Renault 9
- 1991: Renault Clio
- 1997: Renault Scénic
- 2003: Renault Mégane II
- 2006: Renault Clio III
The Renault 12 (1970), Renault 5 (1972), Renault 20 (1976), Renault 25 (1985) and Renault Laguna (2002) have all achieved runners-up in spot in the competition. Renaults most recent models are well known for their safety, all but 4 of the current models have achieved the maximum 5-star rating by the EuroNCAP crash-test assessment programme. Renault has regularly topped the French car sales charts, fighting off fierce competition from Citroën and Peugeot.
Both the Renault logo and its documentation (technical as well as commercial) had used a specially designed typeface called Renault, developed by British firm Wolff Olins. This type family is said to have been designed not for prestige reasons, but mainly to save costs at a time where the use of typefaces was more costly than it is now.
In 2004, French typeface designer Jean-François Porchez was commissioned to design a replacement. This was shown in October of that year and is called Renault Identité.
- The Renault factory in Billancourt is the visual inspiration for the factory seen on Code Lyoko.
- Renault also built rail vehicles. Mainly autorail type vehicles.
- In 2003, Renault was claiming a world's first airbag for back seat passengers. The airbag is contained in the seatbelt and back seat passengers could receive similar level of protection of front seat passengers. It made its first appearance in the new Scénic in September.
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