The history of Renault motor works has started during the last weeks of 1898. Louis Renault celebrated his 21st birthday that time and he chose that occasion for the presentation of his new vehicle, Renault type A. The car had 270 ccm engine capacity, 1.75 Hp output and 3-speed gearbox. It could transport two adults by speed up to 50 km/h. Type A was based on De Dion`s quadricycle.
1899 - Renault Brothers(Renault Fréres) opened their manufacture on Avenue du Cours in Billancourt. On the 12th June 1899 they took part in the Paris Motor Show already with two models; type A and B. Type B had 450 ccm engine capacity. Both engines were cooled by air. 76 cars were produced this year and 110 people found work in the factory.
1901 -- Renault`s compass was increasing. New models, D and E, appeared. The first international license contract was signed and due to this act a factory in Belgium was founded. Renault was so successful on the 4th Paris Motor Show that it sold out the production of 1902.
1902 - the first engine of the original Renault construction was born. Renault Brothers took this four-cylinder with 3750 ccm engine capacity to the Paris - Vienna race and - they won. Renault got the first patent for the system of supercharging.
1903 -- the day of horror came. Renault Brothers participated in the Paris - Madrid race on May 24th, 1903. During this race Marcel Renault perished when he led the competition in his class and 10 more spectators were killed as well. Louis was in shock and he called all his cars back off the competition. Later on the race itself was banned by the police president`s order.
1904 - Renault is developing its bussiness net which had 120 dealers at the time. Production reached 948 cars.
1906 - The first Renault bus, known as "omnibus" then, has been produced.
1907 - Renault started to produce plane engines. Production reached 3800 cars that year.
1909 - Fernand Renault died. Louis Renault became the sole owner of Renault Fréres. Because there were not any "Renault Brothers" anymore, he changed the name of the factory - Les Automobiles Renault.
1910 - Renault Factory has over 3600 employees.
1913 - 5200 people worked in the Renault factory and the production reached 10.000 cars a year.
1914 - France was attacked by Germany that year. The military commander of Paris, general Galieni, ordered mobilisation of taxi drivers who drove soldiers against unprotected wing of German army by famous Renault Paris-Marne and due to this they saved the capital of France. Renault cars had merit in the victory of their nation. After the war Louis Renault was awarded a medal for his contribution to the ending of WW1.
1917 -- The first prototype of the FT17 leaves the assembly-cara. French minister of defense immediately ordered 100 pieces. Production of this tank reached 1100 units later on.
1920 - The first post-war model was presented - 10CV. The first Renault car with steering wheel on the left side.
1922 -- Legal status of the company was changed into joint-stock company. Its name changed as well: Societé Anonyme de Usines Renault. A new model - 6CV - was presented. It had 950 ccm engine capacity and 18 Hp output.
1924 - Renault founded financial company DIAC. Its dealers could have started to sell cars on the instalment plan.
1925 - Shape of a diamond became an official symbol of Renault cars. It could have been seen for the first time on the famous car 40 CV.
1927 - The Monasix model was presented. It had a six-cylinder engine and 12.5 Hp output. It did not quite make it due to its weak output. Therefore next year the six-cylinder was changed for stronger four-cylinder engine. This choice proved to be right. You could still see those cars on the streets of Paris in the 60`s, mostly like cabs. Most of them have done over 1.000.000 km.
1930 - Beginning of the production of Nervastella (1300 ccm engine capacity, four-cylinder). This model won the famous Morocco rallye that year.
1934 - New model Celtaquatre was presented. It had elements recalling the "American school". It had 1400 ccm engine capacity and 34 Hp output. 44.000 cars were produced that year.
1937 - Renault presented new, small Juvaquatre model with 1003 ccm engine capacity and 25 Hp output.
1938 - Louis visited Berlin, saw the Kraft durch Freude, lately known as VW Beetle and was amazed. He loved it so much that he made a decision to produce a French "Beetle".
1939 - The war started and production of civilian cars had been stopped. Only a few pieces of Juvaquatre and Primaquatre with a hydraulic braking system were produced. During those years all of the firms on the area occupied by Germany were forced to produce for Germany. Louis Renault tried his best to slow the production as much as possible. Development of the French "Beetle" continued under security measures and the prototype, called 4CV, was born on December 23rd 1942.
1942-43 - Allies bombed Renault`s factories. About 80% of the machinery, buildings and raw materials were destroyed.
1944 - Louis was arrested and imprisoned because of collaboration with Germans. He died during the investigations on October 24th 1944. Rumours that he was poisoned started to appear immediately after his death.
1945 - Although without Louis, the name Renault lived on. In January Charles de Gaulle decided to nationalize Renault company. The name of the company was changed to Regié Nationale des Usines Renault. 21.000 people had been employed in the factory, 12.000 vehicles were produced, but just about a half of dozen of it were cars.
1946 - Production of the passenger cars was relaunched again that year. Renault produced 8500 cars, most of them being of a Juvaquatre type with saloon or estate body. They had hydraulic brakes and dampers.
1947 -- The first production car 4CV was produced in August. A legend was born.
1948 - Renault had 40.000 employees. 96.000 cars were produced.
1950 - Production of Renault Frégate started.
1951 - 4CV`d won 24hrs race Le Mans in its category. The Renault company was the first to start a diesel-engine tractor production.
1952 - Prototype of Renault Dauphine was presented.
1954 - The 1.000.000th car after the nationalization and 2.000.000th since the founding of the company was produced. Serial production of Renault Dauphine started.
1956 - The company received an information about Amédé Gordini`s financial problems. As its direct result a contract was signed regarding the production of a modified Dauphine model. One of Renault`s eminent dealers founded the RDL company and the first Alpine 106 was born that year. It was based on Renault 4CV and equipped with a GRP body designed by Michelotti.
1957 - A new model of Renault, Dauphine Gordini, was introduced during the Paris Motor Show. Preliminary works on new prototypes R4, R8 and R16 commenced that year.
1959 - Renault car company became the world`s 6th biggest car producer. Production of models Caravelle and Floride, based on the Dauphine model, which was shorter started as well.
1960 - Production of Alpine 110 "Tour de France" commenced. It was a model, which gained great popularity and won a lot of people for Renault.
1961 -- On 4th June the last 4CV car left the factory. It bore a number 1105543. After 16 years 4CV was dead - long live R4! The first R4 was produced on the 3rd August 1961. Total production of this model reached 8.126.200!
1962 - The first R8 was manufactured. It was the first production car with disc brakes on all of 4 wheels.
1964 -- On the 22nd June the first R8 Gordini left the assembly cara. It was a sports car derived from R8 Major.
1965 -- The first R16 left the factory gates. It had another primacy as well - the first Renault car with the title "the car of the year" and the first car ever with a hatchback body.
1968 - Production a little sister of R16, R6 started. It has never achieved the same popularity as its older sibling. R6 had 850 ccm engine capacity and following review from contemporary press: "It does not matter how much you throttle it will not bother it anyway".
1969 - Renault presented a new model - R12. It was to become a very popular model produced under license in Romania (Dacia car), and in Brasil.
1970 - Production of R8 Gordini is over and R12 Gordini takes its place. There were about 10.000 units of R8 Gordini manufactured in total.
1971 - Production of R15/17 and new Alpine A 310 started.
1972 - One of the biggest successes of Renault started - R5. Designer of Renault, Boué, found as a consequence of an accident a R4 photo. He started to draw and suddenly he had a whole car in front of his eyes. He showed this picture to his colleagues Georges and Pros-Dam who started to develop that idea at once. It took just two days to finish a model of R5, which was passed on to the production department. (Just to compare - it took about 27 models of R6 before its production). Press and public fell in love with R5, which came into being thanks to a lucky accident. Boué did not live to see its presentation. He died of cancer.
1974 - Production of first V6 car engine since 1939 started. Engine PRV 2.6l V6 was developed in co-operation with Peugeot and Volvo. It was the first French V6 engine with an aluminium cylinder head. It was so good that the last "performance" of this car came about only in 1997; after 23 years. The first car where this engine was used was R30.
1975 - Production of R20, R30's younger sibling, started.
1976 - Production of R18 started - the second most successful car after R5.
1977 - The 5000000th unit of R5 was manufactured.
1980 - Production of Renault Fuego started. R. Fuego was a descendant of the successful R15/17 cara. Fuego's success went beyond any expectations. It became the best-seller coupé in Europe and it was not all. - Another amazing success - R5 turbo appeared. This darling car had its engine of 1397 ccm placed in the middle and its output was just unbelievable - 250 Hp.
1981 - Production of R9 started. This car won for the company another title of "the car of the year".
1983 - Production of R11 coupé, using R9's base, started. It was the first time when 4 models of one car company appeared at the top of list of the best sellers of France. These cars were R5, R9, R11 and R8.
1984 - Production of R25, which had replaced R20/30, began. Simultaneously Renault Espace's production commenced. That car became a prototype and ultimate measure of a new category of MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicle). Renault produced 12 models in 160 variations.
1985 - R5 passed through a "face-lifting" process and became known as "Superfive".
1986 - Production of R21, R18 successor, started. In the U.S. it was known as "Medallion".
1988 - R25 is being sold as "Premiere" in the U.S; production of R19, the unexpestedly successful model, started.
1991 - A new model, Clio, replaced "Superfive". This model broke through the numerical system of calling new cars and opened an era of personal names. It became the 3rd "car of the year" of Renault.
1992 - Renault Safrane, successor of R25, was born.
1993 - Production of Safrane biturbo, one of the most powerful limousines serially produced, started. Production of Renault Twingo started.
1994 - Production of Renault Laguna started.
1995 - Production of Renault Mégane started.
1996 - Production of a revolutionary Renault Scénic started. "The car of year 1997 - Exactly as Espace has founded a new category of cars (MPV), Scénic opened a new category called "mini MPV" today. Production of Kangoo started.
1998 - Production of Renault Clio II. started.