Renault History

Over 100 Years of History

Even though we've been creating some of the world's best cars for over 100 years, chances are you don't really know a lot about us.

Louis Renault

Louis Renault was born in Paris in February 1877. His first car was the Voiturette, produced in 1898. The Renault company, Renault Frères (Renault Brothers) was officially formed in 1899, by Louis and his brothers Marcel and Fernand.

The Early Years

Renault patented the invention of the direct drive gearbox – adopted by other manufacturers and registered a number of other patents including the turbocharger. 

  • From 1903, Renault established sales outlets outside France in England, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and the USA.
  • In 1905, received an order for 250 taxis which generated a switch from workshop to mass production, becoming the leading French car makers.
  • By 1907, 50% of London’s taxis were Renaults.

The Company Develops

In World War l, Renault played an important role. Two events were significant.

  1. The Marne Taxis”. 500 Renault taxis were used as troop transport to halt the German advance on Paris. The Marne Taxis was one of the famous events of World War I.
  2. The Light Tank, designed in 1917 which was a major factor in the Allies success.

At war’s end Renault was France’s main manufacturer with plants by 1929 in Belgium, England and Spain. Louis Renault died in 1945.

Renault is Nationalised

After the war Renault was nationalised, and remained State-owned for the next 50 years. Its philosophy was unchanged, and it introduced many innovative models, also continuing in motorsport.

Renault and Australia

With the Renault-Nissan Alliance established on March 27, 1999, Renault has drawn on Nissan’s strengths in the Asia Pacific markets to extend its presence in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In Australia, Renault is sold through a wholly owned subsidiary of Nissan Australia named Vehicle Distributors Australia (VDA). Renault (VDA) has established its own Executive Committee and management structure including administration and sales staff. Renault is totally supported by Nissan’s operational management and draws on the comprehensive resources of the well-established Japanese company.

A comprehensive network of Australian dealers has been appointed to market and service the Renault brand nationally. Located in Australia’s major cities and selected provincial centres, these dealers have been selected according to Renault’s exacting corporate requirements to provide first-class service standards and an exemplary first-contact point for all Renault customers.

A strong emphasis is placed on after-sales strategy and service and all Renault service staff undergo significant training in the company’s landmark Training Centre to ensure Renault’s standards of mechanical excellence are met.