This timeline looks at the history of our Group, from 1898 to the present day. Renault’s extraordinary industrial and human adventure features emblematic models, plant openings, sporting achievements, charismatic people and game-changing innovations.
Groupe Renault unveils its vision of shared urban mobility; driverless, electric and connected with Renault EZ-GO concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor show.
Groupe Renault unveils SYMBIOZ
SYMBIOZ concept car illustrates Groupe Renault's vision of the automobile and its place in society by 2030.
TREZOR Marks the Dawn of a New Cycle
Unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the TREZOR concept car was positioned as the rightful heir to DeZir. This two-seater electric coupe in the grand GT tradition marked the start of a new design cycle and blazed a trail for the next vehicles in the Renault range.
After Duster Oroch, Renault pursues its conquest of the international pick-up market with the revealing of the Alaskan show truck.
Twenty years after the first-generation model, Renault unveils the latest version of its city car at the Geneva Motor Show.
Completely redesigned, New Twingo is inspired by the heritage of the original Twingo and the R5.
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.
Inspired by Dezir, Clio 4 was the first vehicle to feature Renault’s new design identity.
ZOE Launches the Electric Revolution
Renault made a bold, innovative leap with the ZOE in 1992. This car was the first mass-market electric compact car that the brand brought to market. It is now the best-selling model of its kind in Europe.
Renault Invests in Silicon Valley
Opened in 2011 in California, the Open Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley is an innovation hot spot. Located just minutes from the Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon labs, this site turns the vitality of the location to its advantage, making it among the first to learn of innovations that could influence the vehicles of the future.
UNVEILING THE DEZIR CONCEPT CAR
Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the DeZir concept car embodies the renaissance of the Renault design strategy under the direction of Laurens van den Acker. It embodies the first stage (Love) in the life cycle at the heart of the strategy.
Renault acquires a 25% share in AVTOVAZ
On 29 February Renault took a 25% share in AVTOVAZ, Russian’s leading carmaker with the Lada brand.
Safrane, replacing the Renault 25, was Renault’s high-end model through to the end of production in 2000.
Williams-Renault wins F1 Constructors’ World Champion title
With 15 pole positions and 10 wins – six of which one-twos – in 16 races, Williams-Renault won the F1 Constructors’ World Champion title and Nigel Mansell the Driver’s title that year. Renault engines would claim the championship for the next six years.
Close of the Ile Seguin plant
Production at the historic Ile Seguin plant in Boulogne-Billancourt shut down for good on March 21.
TWINGO REVOLUTIONIZES CITY DRIVING
Twingo created a buzz as soon as it was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. With its “froggy” face and design that combined elements of MPV and compact cars, the Twingo made quite a splash. Bearing a name that combines the words Twist, Swing and Tango, the Twingo was marketed to a young demographic, who quickly fell head over heels for it.
RENAULT ESPACE, THE WORLD’S FIRST MPV
The Renault Espace generated a great deal of interest from the moment it was presented to the media in 1984. There was no guarantee that it would be a hit, however. At the time, no one had ever seen a vehicle that was so roomy and versatile. With five fully flexible rear seats that could be turned around to create a “living room”, Espace was both surprising and enticing.
Renault revolutionized the world of Formula 1 racing in 1977 when it joined the premier class of motorsports with its RS01 car, complete with a turbocharged engine. From that year onward, Renault has been the one of the most decorated auto manufacturers in the sport.
Birth of the iconic Renault 5
Targeting young, female customers, the new city car with its short hood and three-door body shook up motoring habits. The interior boasted a new and resolutely 1970s style with its bright colors and square dials. In its first year on the market, the Renault 5 took a 5% share of the French auto market, before going on to become the best-selling car in Europe three years later. It topped the rankings of compact cars in France for over 10 years and sold in over 5,325,000 units worldwide. The R5 today occupies a special place in the pantheon of iconic cars from the second half of the 20th century alongside the 2CV, Beetle and DS.
Launched in January 1965, the R16 was the first compact hatchback car to hit the market, a ground-breaking design for the time. Initially criticized for being too outside-the-box, the car ultimately became a hit through excellent word-of-mouth. Halfway between a station wagon and a compact, it was designed to “lead the way forward”, as the ad copy proclaimed.
Renault launches the Renault 4, a true cultural phenomenon
The Renault 4L, the first “car for living”, was the product of a brilliant idea: to create a versatile car able to go practically anywhere and prove useful in all circumstances. Unveiled in 1961, the five-door model featured a tailgate that opened to reveal a modular space in which the rear bench could be folded down to transform the car into a van. Brilliant! The Renault 4 would be produced in over 8 million units and exported to over 100 countries before its career came to an end on December 21, 1994.
The Dauphine succeeded rather than replaced the 4CV. The idea of succession was underscored by the name Dauphine, the French word for “heir apparent”. The new model introduced a fresh spirit, featuring all the modern accessories of the time, including adjustable seats, heating and an automatic gearbox. The car’s curvaceous forms were consistent with car design in the 1960s. The 4CV’s career came to an end in December 1967, at which point it was the most-produced French car in history at 2,150,738 units.
On September 5, 1956 Renault’s Etoile Filante set four speed records at the Bonneville salt flats in the United States. This feat, made possible by the car’s 270 hp turbine engine, cemented Renault’s pioneering reputation around the globe.
The 4CV, revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October, was the first rear-engined Renault and the first French vehicle to be produced in over one million units. Developed in secret during the Second World War, the 4CV weighed just 560kg, consumed very little fuel and could comfortably transport four people. It was manufactured in numerous versions, from the highly economical Service model to the attractive Convertible and Sportive 1063 models. It was sold in the USA and manufactured in Japan.
In 1945 the Société Anonyme des Usines Renault (SAUR) company became La Régie Nationale des Usines Renault (RNUR), wholly owned by the French State.
Opening of the Ile Seguin plant
Renault opened the Ile Seguin plant in Boulogne-Billancourt outside Paris. The plant produced the prestigious 8-cylinder Reinastella. The brand was now present in 49 countries.
Renault logo adopts diamond shape
Requisition of 1,000 Renault vehicles for the “Taxis of the Marne” effort
The French War Ministry called on Renault to contribute to the war effort and entrusted it with 31 contracts, including for ambulances, aircraft engines and shells. Renault taxis transported some 4,000 men to the front, entering history as the “Taxis of the Marne”.
First two-cylinder engine
In 1902 Renault built its first two-cylinder engine, the base module for the four-cylinder engine under the hood of the light vehicle that Marcel Renault drove to victory in a race from Paris to Vienna.
Creation of Société Renault Frères
Louis’ brothers, Marcel and Fernand Renault, founded the Société Renault Frères company in 1898. Louis remained an employee of the company, working on design. The Voiturette soon won its first motorsport races, in the process boosting Renault’s total orders for the year to 71.
THE RENAULT VOITURETTE CLIMBS RUE LEPIC
The history of innovation at Renault began on December 24, 1898 when Louis Renault drove up Rue Lepic in Paris behind the wheel of his Voiturette. The little car was fitted out with a revolutionary direct-drive transmission. He made his first 12 sales that very night.
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