Because We Love Everything About Cars

From in-car gadgets to vehicle servicing and general maintenance we take a
look at the things which really matter to you! Stay tuned for some of the most
interesting articles written first hand by real grease monkey enthusiasts.

All about Lexus

Lexus was the result of the best part of a decade’s work, as Toyota launched an undercover project code-named Flagship One. Toyoda was adamant that the car was to be aimed at the US market with only the very best in engineering.

8 of The Most Popular Car Redesigns of 2016

Another year, another draft sheet of car redesigns to contend with. There are a whole host of facelifted models to be released in 2016. Let’s take a look at just 8 of the most high profile redesigns to look forward to.

JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey - 6 Interesting Facts

It’s this time of year that car manufacturers around the globe take stock of their work with the release of the dreaded JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey (VDS). What can UK consumers really learn about these results?

All because we love Renault!

From a family-run business to one of the most recognisable brands in the world, Renault enter their 117th year in 2016 having come a long way from their humble beginnings.

The manufacturer started out in 1899 as the Société Renault Frères in what was essentially a family-run business. Engineer Louis Renault was the brains behind the design and production of the business output, whilst brothers Marcel and Fernand handled the business side of proceedings. Louis was only 22 at the outset, and was widely regarded as one of the brightest young minds in France.

Disaster hit both the family and firm in 1903 when Marcel was killed racing one of his own cars on the Paris-Madrid Rally. Louis was also in the vehicle and survived, although he would never race again. It is said that this tragic event would come to change Louis, hardening his outlook on life. The young engineer threw himself into his work, and Renault began producing their own engines in the proceeding months.

Renault was thrown out to the city in 1905 when the Société des Automobiles de Place began to use them as their supplier of cars for taxis in a  number of cities across France. Within two years, Renault were supplying taxis to first Paris, then London and New York as the business ballooned, making Renault specialist taxi manufacturers. Fernand died in 1906, and Louis was left as the last remaining brother, choosing to run the business alone.

Riding the waves of profit created by becoming the world’s major supplier of taxis, Renault diversified in the interwar years, designing a number of agricultural models that would come to revolutionise farming throughout Western Europe.

Following the French capitulation during the Second World War, the Nazis saw immense potential in Renault, attempting to seize their factories in Paris in 1940. Louis refused their attempts to force him to produce tanks for the Nazis, instead settling to manufacture small trucks in the face of unimaginable pressure. This negotiation would come to define Louis, and soon after Renault resumed production in the weeks following the Liberation of Paris, he was arrested by the French authorities on suspicion of collaboration with the Germans.

Louis died in unexplained circumstances whilst awaiting trial in 1944. Within a few months, President Charles de Gaulle nationalised the factories and renamed them Régie Nationale des Usines Renault. In 1945 and again in 1961 the government decreed that they had no authority to review the government’s actions.

What followed was a period of commercial resurgence. Designed in secret during the Second World War, the rear engine 4CV model would go on to sell over half a million units over nearly 20 years of production. A number of successful models were launched in the 4CV’s wake, and Renault repositioned itself as France’s leading car manufacturer, producing over a million cars in a single year in 1970.

Renault spent the 70s ‘going global’, becoming key players in South Asia and Eastern Europe and increasing their stronghold in Australia. In 1979, a deal was struck in partnership with American Motors (AMC), and AMC’s Jeep models began production in Europe soon afterwards. During this time, Renault began investing in motorsport, a love affair that continues to this day.

By 1984, Renault were hemorrhaging a billion francs a month and faced debts totalling 12.5billion. Poor product quality had damaged the brand and government intervention led to the installation of Georges Besse as chairman later that year. Besse withdrew from all motorsport activities, made mass staff cuts and sold off the majority of Renault’s non-core assets. This drastic action stabilized Renault, and shortly after Besse was murdered by communist terrorist group Action Directe in 1986, the company sold their stake in American Motors to Chrysler.

In 1990, Renault strengthened its collaboration with Volvo by signing an agreement that allowed both companies to reduce vehicle conception costs and purchasing expenses. Four years later, plans were announced to re-privatise, and by 1996 it had been almost entirely sold off, changing the landscape of the future of the business. Ambitions increased and new factories were built in Turkey and Argentina.

The partnership with Volvo was subsided in the mid-90s, and in 1999, Renault announced an alliance with Nissan, the first Franco-Japanese partnership of its kind. From this point, Renault positioned itself as a trailblazer for distinctive and innovative design, with models such as the Laguna, Megane and Lexus coming to define the 21st century mass-market motoring industry. Success on the track came in the form of Formula 1 wins for Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006, a victory that mirrored the company’s success off it.

Renault continue to go from strength to strength in recent years, and the 2013 launch of plug-in hybrid model Captur showcases the brand’s commitment to the future of motoring. From the humble beginnings of three brothers well over one hundred years ago, Renault’s rich and sometimes tragic story has positioned it as one of the truly global car brands in 2016.

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