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Renault S.A. is a French vehicle manufacturer producing small to upper-midsize cars, vans, buses and trucks. When its cars were imported to and sold in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, it was decided to pronounce the name as "Ren-ALT" in marketing to the American public, and the Anglicized pronunciation continues in common usage. However, Renault is properly pronounced "Rhen-oh."
The Renault corporation was founded in 1898 by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand, pioneers of the automobile industry and the people who introduced Taylorism in France (after being inspired by a visit to the Ford company in the USA). The brothers immediately recognized the publicity that could be gotten 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.
The Renault reputation for innovation was fostered from very early on - in 1902 Renault launched the first production sedan car as well as patenting the first turbocharger. 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 Renault FT-17 tank. The success of Renault's military designs were such that Renault himself was honored by the Allies for his company's contributions to their victory.
During World War II, Louis Renault's factories worked for Nazi Germany. He was, for this reason, arrested during the liberation of France in 1944 and died in prison before having prepared his defense. His industrial assets were seized by the government, and the Renault factories became a public industry (known as R�gie Nationale des Usines Renault).
1992 Louis Schweitzer becomes president of Reanult group.
In 1999, Renault purchased a 35 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.
Renault competed, as a constructor, in Formula One racing from 1977 to 1985 and again from 2002 onwards. Between these years they supplied engines to some Formula One teams, particularly Benetton and Williams teams in the 1990s. For more information, see Renault Sport.
Renault is known for car concepts like the hatchback Renault 16 or the one-box concepts of Twingo, Sc�nic and Espace, the latter of which was the first modern European MPV. Currently Renault is the car manufacturer with the largest number of models achieving the maximum 5 star rating in EuroNCAP crash tests. The Laguna was the first car to achieve a 5 star rating and in 2004 the Modus was the first in the compact car class to achieve this rating.
Renault cars have performed well in the European Car of the Year awards: the Renault 16 (1966), Renault 9 (1982) Renault Clio (1991), Renault M�gane Sc�nic (1997) and Renault M�gane (2003) have all won the award. 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. Renault has regularly topped the French car sales charts, fighting off fierce competition from Citro�n and Peugeot.
The government of France owns 15.7 per cent of the company but Renault is a private 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) has become Renault's CEO, Louis Schweitzer staying Chairman.
Renault has a stake of 44.4 per cent in Japanese automaker Nissan together with which they form the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Nissan in turn took a 15 per cent stake in Renault in 2002. Renault also owns Samsung Motors (Renault Samsung Motors)and Dacia., as well as retaining a minority stake in Volvo Trucks
In 2004, Renault was the fifth most popular car maker in Britain behind the Ford Motor Company, Vauxhall Motors, Peugeot and Volkswagen. The most popular French car in Britain 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 it's 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, together with associated brands Dacia and Renault Samsung, aims to sell 4 million vehicles worldwide in 2010.
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.
- Official web site
- Renault-Nissan Alliance
- Yahoo! - Renault SA Company Profile
- Euro NCAP crash tests
- Renault: New car looks strong. - crash.net
- Renault tops again - Wheels24.co.za
- Renault looks ahead to stable year - Turkish Daily News (subscription)
- Webber happy to commit to Williams - Planet-F1
- Renault hope to kick start season with early wins - 24hoursport.co.uk
- Renault's Ellypse concept promotes environmental harmony - Gizmag
- Renault Wind Concept Car - Gizmag
- F1 champions Renault target early race wins - Newindpress
- Renault seeks Clio and Logan boost to 2006 sales - Reuters.uk
- New Renault at Jerez on 10 Jan - Supersport
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