The company was founded in 1898 by Louis Renault. In 1905, with an initial order for 250 taxis, the brand’s factories adopted mass production. Several years later, in 1913, in order to increase productivity and ensure diversification of production, Louis Renault introduced Taylorism (division of the various tasks of the production process) in its factories, a novelty in France. With the outbreak of the First World War, the company produced trucks, stretchers, ambulances, howitzers and even FT17 trolleys, which made a decisive contribution to the final victory. In 1919, Louis Renault was the first private industrialist in France.

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    During the Second World War, Renault’s factories produced material for the German Nazi army. Louis was later arrested after the liberation of France in 1944 and died in prison before having prepared his defence. The entire company became the property of the French government and Renault became a public company called Régie Nationale des Usines Renault.

    Until the early 1980s, growth continued at a rapid pace. The renewal of the range is accelerating and the brand imposes itself in the field of sporting competition and debuts in Formula 1. However, the policy of expansion, the large number of employees and the excessively high costs led the company to suffer major deficits. Renault has no choice but to embark on a drastic cost-cutting policy. The company refocuses its activity and devotes all its efforts to the renewal of the range.

    The international economic context led car manufacturers to regroup. Renault is thinking of a merger with Volvo, a project which was finally abandoned in 1993. The major change began in 1994 and culminated in the privatisation of the company in July 1996. A few years later, Renault entered the capital of Nissan in 1999.

    And today?

    At the dawn of the 21st century, the Renault-Nissan Alliance was consolidated. Renault’s stake in Nissan’s capital rises to 44% in 2002 and synergies develop steadily. With the Alliance and the buybacks of Samsung Motors and Dacia, Renault accelerates its internationalisation and gives a strong stimulus to its strategy of profitable growth. Objectives: to build with Nissan a large bi-national group with a worldwide vocation and to sell 4 million vehicles by 2010 under the Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung brands.

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