Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Renault S.A. is a French vehicle manufacturer producing small to upper-midsize cars, vans, buses and trucks. Renault is properly pronounced "Rhen-oh" but some people incorrectly pronounce it "Reh-nought".
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. The brothers immediately recognized the publicity that could be gotten for their vehicles by participation in motor racing and they achieved instant success and name recognition in the first city-to-city races held in France. Both Louis and Marcel Renault raced a company vehicle 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.
Between the two world wars, Louis Renault enlarged the scope of his company, producing agricultural and industrial machinery .
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 Régie Nationale des Usines Renault).
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, Scénic 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 Mégane Scénic (1997) and Renault Mégane (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 Citroën 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 and CEO of Renault since 1992. In 2005, Carlos Ghosn (current CEO of Nissan) will become Renault's CEO and Louis Schweitzer will retire.
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. Further stakes are in Samsung Motors (Renault Samsung Motors), Volvo Trucks and Dacia.
In 2004, Renault was the fifth most popular car maker sold in Britain—only falling 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 commerical 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.
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