1901 the Renault range
expands to include the models D and E. The firts international
licensing contract is signed, with an assembly plant in Belgium.
At the 4th Paris MotorShow Renault sells its entire 1902
production output in advance
1902 the very first
Renault-engine was build, it was 3750cc 4-cylinder engine, 20-30
hp. It was build for the Paris-Vienna race which they won.
Renault files a patent for an
engine supercharger system. 1903 Renault Fréres participitated in
the the Paris-Madrid race which was a disaster, ten drivers died
including Louis' brother Marcel. Louis was shocked and he withdrew
all his cars and the race was later stopped by the French
1904 Renault develops its
sales network, which now includes 120 dealers throughout France.
The production output reaches
1906 the Chevalier de la
Légion d'Honneaur was conferred on Renault for his work to develop
the motor industry.
Renault's first bus leaves
1907 Renault starts to
produce aircraft engines. 3800 vehicles are produced this year.
1909 Fernand Renault dies,
Louis Renault is now alone owner of the Renault Fréres and since
there were no fréres left he changed the the name to Les
1910The Renault plant now
employs more than 3200 people.
1913 5200 people worked at
Les Automobiles Renault and the production output rises to 10.000
1914The First World War
breakes out and the famous "Taxis de la Marne" make a historic
contribution to victory over the German troops at the battle of
the Marne, by helping transport 6500 soldiers to the front. Les
Automobiles Renault produces tanks, ambulances and aircraft
engines for the Allied Army. After the war Louis got another
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneaur medallion for his contribution
for the war efford.
1917 The first prototype of
the FT 17 rolls of the production line and the Defence Ministry
places an order for 100 units, later increased to 1100 units.
1920 the first pre-war model
was introduced: 10CV. It was the first Renault with the steering
wheel on the left side. The first Renault tractor was build.
1922 the Les Automobiles
Renault ceased to exist and the Sociétè Anonyme de Usines Renault
was born. This year yet another model was introduced: 6CV, which
had a 950cc engine (18hp).
1924 Renault sets up a
finance company: DIAC so that Renault dealers can offer
easy-payment schemes for sales of vehicles and equipment.
1925 the diamond symbol
becomes Renault's official logotype, it was first seen on the hood
of the 40CV.
40CV From this year brakes on
all four wheels was standard on all Renault cars. Renault NN was
introduced and it was a car which "never" broke down. George
Estienne chose Renault NN when he crossed the Sahara in January
1927. Estienne's trip of almost 17000 km (10000 miles) was
completed without any mechanical breakdown - even without changing
1927 Monasix is presented. It
was equipped with 6 cylinder engine (12,5 hp). It wasn't very
popular though, since the engine was too small and already next
year the engine was changed to a 4-cylinder, much lighter engine
and it showed to be a right decicion, for instance the Taxi of
Paris ordered several Monasixes. Untill 1962 these cars were seen
in Paris, and most of them had been driven 1 million km!!!
Even a model called Vivasix
was introduced the same year, and it was sold "including bumbers".
The Viva was designed for motorists requiring a fast, roomy,
comfortable car. It could be fitted either with 5- or 7-seater
1930 the Nervastella is
launched, it takes the first three places in the Morocco Rally
1932 9 different models were in production, Monaquatre was
introduced (1300cc 4-cylinder engine).
1934 an interesting model was
introduced: Celtaquatre, it was French but looked like an American
car ( it had a 1400cc engine 34 bhp.) This year 44.000 cars were
1937 yet another small model
was introduced: Juvaquatre (1003cc engine, 25bhp).
1938 Louis visited Berlin and
saw the Kraft durch Freude (read VW beetle) prototype and he was
quite impressed . When he came home he started immediately plan a
When the World War II started
in 1939, it stopped the production of the civilian cars. A couple
of Juvaquatres, Primaquatres were produced which all were equipped
with hydraulic brakes. As all the French companies, even Renault
were forced to work for the Germans but Louis let the production
slow down as much possible.
During the war the work on a
French KdF did go on in secrecy, and it resulted that the first
prototype of the 4CV saw the daylight on the 23. December 1942.
1942-43 the Allies bombed the
Renault factories and almost 80% of the machines and raw-material
was destroyed. 1944 Louis was arrested for collarobation with the
Germans. During the investigation he was placed at the Fresnes
prison. He died there 24. October. There are many stories about
what he died of, some suggest that he was poisoned, others say
that he was sick even before, I guess we will never know...