Renault worldwide

Our story through the years


Key figures

  • Three brands: Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors
  • Renault is now present in 125 countries
  • Group sales worldwide: 2.7 million vehicles (2014)
  • An industrial network made of 42 sites, all ISO 14001 certified
  • 46% of the group's sales are made outside Western Europe
  • The five biggest markets of the group are: France, Brazil, Russia, Germany and Turkey (2014)
  • A workforce of 117,395 employees (as of December 31, 2014)
  • Renault European leader in electric vehicle sales, with a 37.1% market share (2013)
  • Five best selling cars - Duster, Clio IV, Logan, Sandero & Captur)
  • A commercial network made up of 12,116 sites
  • Renault: More than 15 years as the leading LCV brand in Europee
  • 2,712,432 vehicles sold worldwide by Renault in 2014

Key dates

1898-1918

A leading industrial firm comes into being

1877: Louis Renault is born.

1898: First Renault Voiturette, fitted with direct-drive transmission, the type A.

1899: Renault Freres is founded by Louis’ two brothers, Marcel and Fernand.

1900: The world’s first saloon arrives in the market, the type B.

1902: Renault produces its first engine and files a patent for the first turbo.

1903: The sales network expands and the first subsidiaries are set up outside France.

1905: Renault takes orders for 250 taxis in Paris and for exports to London, New York and Buenos Aires. The firm starts mass production.

1909: Following the death of Louis Renault’s two brothers, Renault Freres becomes Société des Automobiles Louis Renault.

1913: The factory has almost 5,000 employees. The first strike takes place, in protest against the principles of Taylorism.

1914-18: Renault contributes to the war effort, supplying trucks, ambulances, aircraft engines and the FT 17, the first light machine-gun tank.

1918-1929

The roaring twenties set the stage for success

1921-29: Years of great creativity. Diversified production: Passenger cars and commercial vehicles, boat and aircraft engines, motor units etc. The 10CV and 40CV enjoys great success. Around thirty subsidiaries are set up in other countries.

1922: Renault becomes Société Anonyme des Usines Renault. The first assembly line is set up.

1927: Renault starts naming its cars.

1929-1945

Lost illusions

1929: Renault moves to Billancourt. After the stock market crash, rigorous management and diversified production are the order of the day.

1936: The Front Populaire wins the elections in France; Renault symbolizes the struggle to improve worker's rights. Production reaches a record-beating 61,146 vehicles but the company makes its first major net loss.

1937: The Juvaquatre is launched.

1939-44: The Billancourt factory is occupied by the Germans and forced to repair French tanks requisitioned by the Germans. Louis Renault dies in 1944.

1945-1955

Renault, a company owned by France

1945: The French government nationalizes Renault. Pierre Lefaucheux takes over the management of Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.

1946: Launch of the 4CV, an eminently popular car.

1952-55: Renault expands outside France and in its colonial markets; Pierre Dreyfus is appointed to head the company.

1955-1975

A company in the throes of change

1955: Pierre Lefaucheux dies in a road accident and is replaced by Pierre Dreyfus.

1956-60: The Dauphine replaces the 4CV. Its failure in the US leads to an industrial, financial and social crisis.

1964-1970: The Renault 8 Gordini enjoys great sporting success.

May 1968: Renault is the barometer for workers protests in France. After a 33-day strike, wages are increased and the working week is cut by one hour.

1972-73: The R5 makes its debut, and goes on to account for 60% of sales after the first oil shock.

1975-1986

Euphoria and shock

1975: Managed by Bernard Vernier-Palliez. Renault now comprises of the state-owned Régie (104,000 employees) and the subsidiaries set up through diversification (118,500 employees).

1976: Founding of Renault Sport.

1980: Renault is Europe’s leading vehicle manufacturer.

1981-84: Bernard Hanon becomes President of Renault. An alliance is set up with US manufacturer AMC. Despite losses, the Group launches the R25, the Super-Cinq and more particularly – Espace.

1985-1986: The company is facing bankruptcy. President Georges Besse introduces a policy of simplicity and diversification. “Action Directe”, a group of left-wing fanatics, assassinates him. Raymond-HaimLévy takes his place.

1987-1992

Renaissance

1987: Renault is back in the black with profits of FF 3.7 billion.

1989: Renault posts a profit of almost FF 9 billion and makes its return to F1.

1990: An alliance is announced with Volvo, but the news does not go down well in Sweden.

1991: Renault Clio makes its debut and is voted Car of the Year. Renault is Germany’s leading importer.

1989-1992: Major reforms are carried out to cut workforce numbers, limit production and modernize the plants and network.

1992-2005

Euphoria and shock

1992: The Billancourt plant closes. Louis Schweitzer becomes the President of Renault..

1992-1997: Renault takes six consecutive F1 world championship titles. Twingo, Mégane and Laguna arrive in the market.

1994: The proposed merger with Volvo falls through. The French government opens Renault outside the capital.

1996: Renault is privatized. The Group extends its presence in Brazil, Argentina and Turkey.

1997: The Vilvoorde plant is closed down. Renault withdraws from F1. Scénic is Car of the Year.

1998: Renault celebrates its centenary with the slogan “Renault, 100 years of driving innovation”. The Guyancourt Technocentre opens its doors.

1999: Renault signs an Alliance with Nissan and takes over Romania’s Dacia.

2000: Renault becomes the main shareholder of Volvo (20%). A new entity is set up, "Renault Samsung Motors".

2001: Renault acquires the Benetton team and returns to F1.

2003: The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the world’s fourth largest vehicle manufacturer.

The future ahead

2005-2010

2005: Carlos Ghosn replaces Louis Schweitzer.

2006: Presentation of Renault Commitment 2009.

2008: Initiatives to promote electric vehicles: partnerships with Project Better Place and EDF, Presentation of a Scénic prototype powered by a fuel cell and the concept car Z.E. Concept (for Zero Emission).

2010: The Dezir concept car, revealed at the Paris Motor Show, embodied the renewal of Renault’s design strategy under the leadership of Laurens van den Acker. The model represented the first petal in the life-cycle “daisy”: Love

Global expansion

A new design style

2012:

Clio IV reveal at the Paris Motor Show. Inspired by Dezir, Clio 4 was the first vehicle to feature Renault’s new design identity.

2013:

Renault sets up business in China. Renault signed a joint venture agreement with the Chinese carmaker Dongfeng, creating the Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company (DRAC). The agreement paved the way for the construction of a plant at Wuhan.