The Club was founded in 1952, at an inaugural meeting on 2nd March, at 'The Denmark', a public house in London's Old Brompton Road, one of the members being Gordon J. Offord ('Don' to his friends), coach-maker to the monarchy through five reigns, via
G.J. Offord and Son and, at the time, Renault's main London distributor. It was founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts and did not exclude 'the trade', which at that time was more involved with its customers in general. 1955 saw the first "proper" magazine with a two-colour
front sheet. Three 'News Letter" magazines appeared in 1958 with the last edition growing to nine foolscap sides (with much technical and other input from members) and this sort of size - but more editions, six to be exact - came to be the norm in 1959, so that, within six years of its foundation, the Club can claim that it had a successful and interesting regular bulletin. Subsections were set up in many places, events were organised and well attended, Renault Ltd, looked with favour upon the organisation, headed by a dynamic committee and, of course, the Dauphine was selling like hot cakes (the first mini-cabs (which were Dauphines) hit the streets and the Gordini version came along; no wonder that the sale of over 15000 Dauphine (types) in less than five months at the beginning of 1960 drove fear into the hearts of the British manufacturers. The big news in the middle of the 60s and the event which enables the ROC to come face-to-face with a larger section of the Renault owning population of these islands, was Renault's amazingly successful Rallye Renault, first held in 1965 at the Acton works. For over a decade, these annual rallies brought together Renaultphiles and, at the same time, converted non-Renault sceptics in their droves for a surprisingly insignificant outlay. There was scarcely a famous house venue that the Rallyes did not visit -
Longleat, Blenheim, Penshurst, Ragley, Woburn, Harewood. You name it and Renault were there, sixteen deep, even
from Continental Europe and it was the first significant and, at the time, the best event of its kind for a single
marque. The BBC even televised it! By 1967, the 'Newsletter' had become a regular thirty-odd double sided publication and it became more professional, reducing in size to A5. Renault was very successful and the concessionaires were very active; this meant that Renault became a mainstream
marque, bought by a wider public looking for reliable transport. And, frankly, the Nines, Elevens and Eighteens of the Seventies were hardly the unusual, astonishingly good-value-for-money that their immediate predecessors, the 4,12 and 16 had been, let alone their trend setting
r.e.r.w.d. antecedents. Members continue to participate at classic shows, at the Mas du Clos Gordini meetings, and at events in this country and on mainland Europe. The magazine has evolved into a professional A4 publication with a full colour cover and full colour pictures inside.
History - Renault
Foundation and early years (1898-1918)
Producing cars since late 1897, the Renault corporation was founded in 1899 as Societe Renault Freres by Louis Renault, his brothers Marcel and
Fernand, and his friends Thomas Evert and Julian Wyer. Louis was a bright, aspiring young engineer who had already designed and built several models before teaming up with his brothers, who had honed their business skills working for their father's textiles firm. While Louis handled design and production, Marcel and Fernand handled company management.
The first Renault car, the Renault Voiturette 1CV was sold to a friend of Louis' father after giving him a test ride on 24 December 1898. The client was so impressed with the way the tiny car ran and how it climbed the streets that he bought it.
The brothers immediately recognised the publicity that could be obtained for their vehicles by participation in motor racing and Renault made itself known through achieving instant success in the first city-to-city races held in Switzerland, resulting in rapid expansion for the company. Both Louis and Marcel Renault raced company vehicles, 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 Ferenc Szisz winning the first ever Grand Prix motor racing event in a Renault AK 90CV in 1906. Louis was to take full control of the company as the only remaining brother in 1906 when Fernand retired for health reasons.
The Renault reputation for innovation was fostered from very early on. In 1899, Renault launched the first production sedan car. At the time, cars were very much luxury items, and the price of the smallest Renaults available being 3000 francs reflected this; an amount it would take ten years for the average worker at the time to earn. As well as cars, Renault manufactured taxis, buses and commercial cargo vehicles in the pre-war years, and during World War I (1914-18) branched out into ammunition, military airplanes and vehicles such as the revolutionary Renault FT-17 tank. Company's military designs were so successful that Renault himself was honoured by the Allies for his company's contributions to their
victory. needed] By the end of the war, Renault was the number one private manufacturer in
France. The company also exported their engines overseas to American auto manufacturers for use in such automobiles as the GJG which used a Renault 26 hp or 40 hp four-cylinder engine.
William E. Carter had a 1910 Renault Automobile shipped with him aboard RMS Titanic.
Between the World Wars (1919-38)
Louis Renault enlarged the scope of his company after 1918, producing agricultural and industrial machinery. However, Renault struggled to compete with the increasingly popular small, affordable "people's cars", while problems with the stock market and the workforce also adversely affected the company's growth. Renault also had to find a way to distribute its vehicles more efficiently. In 1920, he signed one of its first distribution contracts with Gustave
Gueudet, an entrepreneur from northern France.
The pre-First World War cars had a distinctive front shape caused by positioning the radiator behind the engine to give a so called "coalscuttle" bonnet. This continued through the 1920s and it was not until 1930 that all models had the radiator at the front. The bonnet badge changed from circular to the familiar and continuing diamond shape in 1925. Renault models were introduced at the Paris Motor Show which was held in September or October of the year. This has led to a slight confusion as to vehicle identification. For example a "1927" model was mostly produced in 1928.
Renault produced a range of cars from small to very large. For example in 1928 which was the year when Renault produced 45,809 cars the range of 7 models started with a 6cv, a 10cv, the
Monasix, 15cv, the Vivasix, the 18/24cv and the 40cv. There was a range of factory bodies, of up to 8 styles, and the larger chassis were available to coachbuilders. The number of a model produced varied with size. The smaller were the most popular with the least produced being the 18/24cv. The most expensive factory body style in each range was the closed cars. Roadsters and tourers (torpedoes) were the cheapest.
The London operation was very important to Renault in 1928. The UK market was quite large and from there "colonial" modified vehicles were dispatched. Lifted suspensions, enhanced cooling and special bodies were common on vehicles sold to the colonies. Exports to the USA by 1928 had almost reduced to zero from their high point prior to WW1 when to ship back a Grand Renault or similar high class European manufactured car was common. A NM 40cv Tourer had a USA list price of over $4,600 being about the same as a V12 Cadillac
Tourer. Closed 7 seat limousines started at $6,000 which was more expensive than a Cadillac V16 Limousine.
The whole range was conservatively engineered and built. The newly introduced 1927
Vivasix, model PG1, was sold as the "executive sports" model. Lighter weight factory steel bodies powered by a 3180 cc six cylinder motor provided a formula that went through to the Second World War.
The "de Grand Luxe Renaults", that is any with over 12-foot (3.7 m) wheelbase (3.68m), were produced in very small numbers in two major types - six and eight cylinder. The 1927 six cylinder Grand Renault models NM, PI and PZ introduced the new three spring rear suspension that considerably aided road holding that was needed as with some body styles over 90 mph (140 km/h) was possible. The 8 cylinder Reinastella was introduced in 1929. This model lead on to a range culminating in the 1939
Suprastella. All Grand Renaults from 1923 are classed as classics by CCCA. Coachbuilders included
Kellner, Labourdette, J.Rothschild et Fils and Renault bodies. Closed car Renault bodies were often trimmed and interior wood work completed by Rothschild.
Renault also introduced in 1928 an upgraded specification to the larger cars designated "Stella". Vivastella's and Grand Renaults had upgraded interior fittings and had a small star fitted above the front hood Renault diamond. This proved to be a winning marketing differentiator and in the 1930s all cars changed to the Stella suffix from the previous two alpha character model identifiers.
The Grand Renaults were built using a considerable amount of aluminium. Engines, brakes, transmissions, floor and running boards and all external body panels were aluminium. Of the few that were built, many went to scrap to aid the war effort.
World War II and after (1939-71)
After France surrendered in 1940, Louis Renault refused to produce tanks for Nazi Germany, which took control of his factories. He produced lorries for the German occupiers which instead. The Provisional Government of the French Republic accused him of
collaborating with the German occupiers and had him arrested during the liberation of France in 1944. He died in prison before having prepared his defence. An autopsy later showed that his neck had been broken, suggesting that he was murdered. His industrial assets were seized by the provisional government of France. The Renault factories became a public industry (known as Regie Nationale des Usines Renault) under the leadership of Pierre
In the years immediately following its nationalisation Renault experienced something of a resurgence, led by the rear engine 4CV model, which was developed under Louis Renault, but launched under Lefacheux in 1946 and proved itself a capable rival for cars such as the Morris Minor and Volkswagen Beetle, its success (more than half a million sold) making sure it remained in production until 1961. There was also a large mechanically conventional 2-litre 4-cylinder car, the Renault
Fregate, from 1951 to 1960.
As with earlier Renault models, the company made extensive use of motor racing to promote the 4CV, the car winning both the Le Mans 24 Hours and Mille Miglia races as well as the Monte Carlo rally. However, despite the success of its flagship model, the company continued to be blighted by labor unrest, and indeed continued to be well into the 1980s.
The 4CV's replacement, the Dauphine, sold extremely well as the company expanded production and sales further abroad, including Africa and North America. The car did not sell well in North America and it was outdated by the start of the 1960s. In an attempt to revive its flagging fortunes, Renault launched two cars which were to become phenomenally successful - the Renault 4 and Renault 8 in 1961 and 1962 respectively. The R8 continued Renault's traditional
rear-engined layout, but the R4 started the movement towards front engined/front wheel drive. R4 production continued until 1992. The larger
rear-engined Renault 10 followed the success of the R8, but was the last of the
rear-engined Renaults. The company achieved success with the more modern and more upmarket Renault 16 launched in 1966, which continued Renault's reputation for innovation by being the world's first hatchback larger than subcompact size. The smaller Renault 6 followed, in the style of the R16.
Modern Era (1972-80)
The new Renault corporate logo designed by Victor Vasarely and introduced in 1972, as part of the major brand revamp carried out to coincide with the launch of the Renault 5 hatchback.
The company's compact and economical Renault 5 model, launched in 1972, was another success, particularly in the wake of the 1973 energy crisis. The R5 remained in production until 1984 when it was replaced by the Super5. The formula was much the same however, and the Super5 inherited its styling lines from its father (however with a transversal engine, as opposed to the longitudinal engine inherited by the first generation Renault 5 from the Renault 4). Soon after, the four-door Renault 12 model slotted into the Renault range between the R6 and the R16, and introduced a new styling theme. Throughout the '70s the R4, R5, R6, R12 and R16 maintained Renault's production. In the '80s the latter two were replaced by the R9 (and its R11 sedan variation) and the R15/R17 sport coupes. Both the R15/R17 were essentially identical two-door coupes, but while the R15 had a large glassy greenhouse, the R17 had thick pillars behind the doors, with slatted windows, to make it
look the sportier of the two.
Endangered like all of the motor industry by the energy crisis, during the mid seventies the already expansive company diversified further into other industries and continued to expand globally, including into South East Asia. The energy crisis also provoked Renault's attempt to reconquer the North American market; despite the Dauphine's success in the United States in the late 1950s, and an unsuccessful car-assembly project in
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, (1964-72), Renault as a stand-alone brand, began to disappear from North America at the end of the '70s.
Throughout the decades Renault developed a collaborative partnership with Nash Motors Rambler and its successor American Motors Corporation
(AMC). From 1962 to 1967, Renault assembled complete knock down (CKD) kits of the Rambler Classic sedans in its factory in Belgium. Renault did not have large or luxury cars in its product line and the "Rambler Renault" would be aimed as an alternative to the Mercedes-Benz
"Fintail" cars. Similar to the fate of some of these Mercedes cars at the time, many of these "American" Renaults finished their life working as taxis. Later, Renault would continue to make and sell a hybrid of AMC's Rambler American and Rambler Classic called the Renault Torino in Argentina (sold through
IKA-Renault). Renault partnered with AMC on other projects, such as development of a rotary concept engine in the late 60s, and would eventually own AMC in 1980.
This was one of a series of collaborative ventures undertaken by Renault in the late 1960s and 1970s, as the company established subsidiaries in Eastern Europe, most notably Dacia in Romania, and South America (many of which remain active to the present day) and forged technological cooperation agreements with Volvo and Peugeot (for instance, for the development of the PRV V6 engine, which was used in Renault 30, Peugeot 604, and Volvo 260 in the late 1970s.).
In the mid 1960s an Australian arm, Renault Australia, was set up in Heidelberg, Melbourne, the company would produce and assemble models from the R8, R10, R12, R16, sporty R15, R17 coupe's to the R18 and R20, soon the company would close in 1981. Interestingly Renault Australia did not just concentrate on Renaults, they also built and marketed Peugeots as well. From 1977, they assembled Ford Cortina station wagons under contract- the loss of this contract led to the closure of the factory.
In North America, Renault formed a partnership with AMC, lending AMC operating capital and buying a small percentage of the company in late 1979. Jeep was keeping AMC afloat until new products, particularly the XJ Cherokee, could be launched. When the bottom fell out of the 4x4 truck market in early 1980 AMC was in danger of going bankrupt. To protect its investment Renault bailed AMC out with a big cash influx - at the price of a controlling interest in the company - 47.5%. Renault quickly replaced some top positions in AMC with their own people.
The Renault - AMC partnership also resulted in the marketing of Jeep vehicles in Europe. Some consider the Jeep XJ Cherokee as a joint
AMC/Renault project since some early sketches of the XJ series was done as a collaboration of both Renault and AMC engineers
(AMC insisted that the XJ Cherokee was designed by AMC personnel; however, a former Renault engineer designed the Quadra-Link front suspension for the XJ series). The Jeep also used wheels and unique rocking seats from Renault. Part of AMC's overall strategy when the partnership was first discussed was to save manufacturing cost by using Renault sourced parts when practical, and some engineering expertise. This led to the improvement of the venerable AMC in-line six - a
Renault/Bendix based port electronic fuel injection system (usually called Renix) that transformed it into a modern, competitive powerplant with a jump from 110 hp (82 kW) to 177 hp (132 kW) with less displacement (4.0L vs. 4.2L).
The Renault-AMC marketing effort in passenger cars was not as successful compared to the popularity for Jeep vehicles. This was because by the time the Renault range was ready to become established in the American market, the second energy crisis was over, taking with it much of the trend for economical, compact cars.
One exception was the Renault Alliance (an Americanised version of the Renault 9), which debuted for the 1983 model year. Assembled at AMC's plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Alliance received Motor Trend's domestic Car of The Year award in 1983. The Alliance's 72% U.S. content allowed it to qualify as a domestic vehicle, making it the first car with a foreign nameplate to win the award. (In 2000, Motor Trend did away with separate awards for domestic and imported vehicles.)
Renault sold some interesting models in the U.S. in the 1980s, especially the simple-looking but fun Renault Alliance GTA and GTA convertible - an automatic-top convertible with a 2.0 L engine - big for a car of its class; and the ahead-of-its-time Renault Fuego coupe. The Alliance was followed by the Encore (U.S. version of the Renault 11), an Alliance-based hatchback.
Renault's Wisconsin-built and imported models quickly became the target of customer complaints for poor quality, and sales plummeted.
Eventually, Renault sold AMC to Chrysler in 1987 after the assassination of Renault's chairman, Georges
Besse. The Renault Medallion (Renault 21 in Europe) sedan and wagon was sold from 1987 to 1989 through Jeep-Eagle dealerships. Jeep-Eagle was the new division Chrysler created out of the former American Motors. However, Renault products were no longer imported into the United States after 1989. Rumors have since persisted about Renault's return to the U.S. market; all of them to date have been unfounded.
A completely new full-sized 4-door sedan, the Eagle Premier, was developed during the partnership between AMC and Renault. The Premier design, as well as its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in
Bramalea, Ontario, Canada, were the starting point for the sleek LH sedans such as the Eagle Vision and Chrysler 300M.
In the late seventies and early eighties Renault increased its involvement in
motorsport, with novel inventions such as turbochargers in their Formula One cars. The company's road car designs were revolutionary also - the Renault Espace was one of the first minivans and was to remain the most well-known minivan in Europe for at least the next two decades. The second-generation Renault 5, the European Car of the Year-winning Renault 9, and the most luxurious Renault yet, the 25 were all released in the early 1980s, building Renault's reputation, but at the same time the company suffered from poor product quality which reflected badly in the image of the brand and the ill-fated Renault 14 is seen by many as the culmination of these problems in the early 1980s.
Although its cars were somewhat successful both on the road and on the track, Renault was losing a billion francs a month and reported a deficit of 12.5 billion in 1984. The government intervened and Georges Besse was installed as chairman; he set about cutting costs dramatically, selling off many of Renault's non-core assets, withdrawing almost entirely from
motorsports, and laying off many employees. This succeeded in halving the deficit by 1986, but he was murdered by the communist terrorist group Action Directe in November 1986. He was replaced by Raymond
Levy, who continued along the same lines as Besse, slimming down the company considerably with the result that by the end of 1987 the company was more or less financially stable.
A revitalised Renault launched several successful new cars in the early 1990s, including the phenomenally successful 5 replacement, the Clio, the second-generation Espace, the innovative Twingo, the Laguna, and the 19. In the mid-1990s the successor to the R19, the Renault was the first car ever to achieve a 4-star rating, the highest at the time, in EuroNCAP crash test in passenger safety. In 1998 Renault introduced Megane
Scenic, a completely new class of cars, a compact monospace with a footprint of a regular Megane. The return to success on the road was matched by a return to success on the racetrack - Renault-powered cars won the Formula One World Championship in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997 with Williams, and in 1995 with
Throughout this period, Renault's European advertising famously made extensive use of Robert Palmer's song "Johnny And Mary." The earlier television advertisements used Palmer's original version, while a range of special recordings in different styles were produced during the 1990s; most famously Martin Taylor's acoustic interpretation which he released on his album Spirit of
Django. Taylor recorded many alternate versions for Renault; the last being in 1998 for the launch of the all-new Renault Clio.
It was eventually decided that the company's state-owned status was detrimental to its growth, and Renault was privatized in 1996. This new freedom allowed the company to venture once again into Eastern Europe and South America, including a new factory in Brazil and upgrades for the infrastructure in Argentina and Turkey. It also meant the end of the aforementioned successful Formula 1 campaign. In 1999 Renault merged with Nissan Motor
In the twenty-first century, Renault was to foster a reputation for distinctive, outlandish design. The second generation of the Laguna and Megane featured ambitious, angular designs which turned out to be highly successful. Less successful were the company's more upmarket models. The Avantime, a bizarre coupe / multi-purpose vehicle, sold very poorly and was quickly discontinued while the luxury Vel Satis model did not sell as well as hoped. However, the design inspired the lines of the second generation the most successful car of the maker. As well as its distinctive styling, Renault was to become known for its car safety; currently, it's the car manufacturer with the largest number of models achieving the maximum 5 star rating in EuroNCAP crash tests. The Laguna was the first Renault to achieve a 5 star rating; in 2004 the Modus was the first to achieve this rating in its category.
The government of France owns 15.7 per cent of the company. Louis Schweitzer has been the Chairman of Renault since 1992 and was CEO from 1992 to 2005. In 2005, Carlos Ghosn (also CEO of Nissan) became Renault's
CEO, with Louis Schweitzer staying on as Chairman.
Renault owns Samsung Motors (Renault Samsung Motors) and Dacia, as well as retaining a minority (but controlling) stake (20%) in the Volvo Group. (Volvo passenger cars are now a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company). Renault bought 99% of the Romanian company Dacia, thus returning after 30 years, in which time the Romanians built over 2 million cars, which primarily consisted of the Renault 8, 12 and 20. Renault also owns 44.5% of Nissan, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault. This is the basis for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which is now in its 10th year.
1898 - Louis Renault founded Renault
1900 Renault C-Type (Oldest Running
Renault in the UK)
1903 - Marcel Renault dies in a car
1938/39 Renault 4CV Prototype
1943 - The Renault factory in Billancourt is attacked by the Allies.
1944 - Louis Renault dies in prison after being arrested on charges of collaborating with the Nazis during WWII.
Later his Widow received payment for this mistake.
1944 - Renault nationalized by the French Government in response to the Nazi collaboration charges against its founder.
1961 - The Renault 4 goes on sale to give Renault a practical competitor for the likes of the Citroen 2CV and Volkswagen Beetle.
1965 - Renault launches the world's first production hatchback - the Renault 16.
1971 - Renault launches the Renault 15 and Renault 17 two-door coupes, giving it a serious competitor for the Ford Capri.
1972 - Renault enters the new "supermini" market with its R5 hatchback, one of the first such cars in this sector. On its launch, the R5 only has three similar competitors - the Fiat 127, Autobianchi A112 and Peugeot 104.
1976 - The Renault 5 Alpine is launched, giving the marque its first entrant into the Hot hatch market. Possibly one of the very first hot hatches, going into production in the same year as the Volkswagen Golf
1977 - Renault enters the small family hatchback market with the 14, which is one of Europe's first hatchbacks of this size.
1978 - Renault launches the Renault 18, the first world car.
1979 - Renault buys a stake in American Motors, with a view to establishing itself on the American market.
1980 - Renault launches the 5 Turbo, which is designed as a rally car but does include roadgoing versions. It ditches the front-drive, front-engined layout for a mid-mounted engine (in place of the rear seats) and rear-wheel drive.
1981 - Renault launches the 9 a four-door saloon, a modern three-box design which is designed to keep the market interest in saloons at a time when hatchbacks are becoming the norm in this sector. It is voted European Car of the Year.
1982 - Renault becomes the second European automaker to build cars in the United States, after Volkswagen. The Alliance, the North American version of the 9, is manufactured in Wisconsin by American Motors and debuts as a 1983 model. It is voted Car of the Year by Motor Trend.
1983 - Renault launches the 11 - a hatchback version of the R9. It gives Renault its first serious rival to the Volkswagen Golf. It goes on sale in the fall in the United States as the Encore.
1984 - Renault enters the executive car market with the large 25 hatchback, aimed directly at the likes of the Ford Granada, Rover SD1 and Opel
1984 - Renault launches the Espace - Europe's first multi-purpose vehicle. It gains praise from all over Europe thanks to its unique practicality and innovation.
1986 - On 9 April the Government of France rules against the privatisation of Renault.
1986 - Renault replaces the 18 with the all-new R21 saloon and Savanna seven-seater estate.
1987 - Renault sells its stake in American Motors to Chrysler.
1988 - The 9 and 11 ranges are replaced by a single model, the 19, which is praised for its excellent ride and handling, as well as the frugality and refinement of its diesel engines.
1990 - Renault launches the Clio supermini, designed as an eventual replacement for the Renault 5. The Clio is the first new model of a generation which will see the numeric models replaced by new cars with traditional nameplates. It sets supermini benchmarks for build quality, comfort and space, and is voted European Car of the Year.
1991 - The Renault 19 becomes available as a cabriolet, and a mild facelift sees the standard range's exterior styling refreshed.
1992 - Louis Schweitzer becomes president of Renault group.
1992 - Renault moves into the city car market with its Twingo, a small hatchback with a "cube" design that maximises interior space, though it is only built with left-hand drive. It re-enters the executive market with the Safrane, an ultramodern large hatchback which replaces the R25.
1995 - Renault replaces the Renault 19 with the Megane, a range of hatchbacks, saloons, estates, coupes and cabriolets.
1996 - Renault 5 production finishes after nearly a quarter of a century. It had been produced in Slovenia since the launch of the Clio in 1991.
1996 - Renault enters the new "compact MPV" market with its Megane-based Scenic. It is voted European Car of the Year, fighting off competition from the Ford Ka and Volkswagen Passat
1996 - The company was privatised to create Renault S.A.
1997 - The all-new Espace goes on sale with a more upmarket image than its predecessor, that served the company for over 10 years.
1998 - The second generation Clio is launched, using an all-new body and being one of the most competitively-priced European
superminis, though its styling is not to all tastes.
1999 - Renault purchased a 36.8 percent equity stake in Nissan, the almost bankrupt Japanese car maker, by injecting US$3.5 billion to obtain effective control of the company under Japanese law. Renault vice-president, Carlos Ghosn was parachuted in to turn round the ailing firm. Nissan also owns 15% of Renault in turn.
1999 - Renault purchased a 99 percent stake in Romanian car maker Dacia for US$50 mln ; so, Renault is back in Piteşti after 30 years. Renault has invested more than US$1.7 billion between 2000 and 2007.
2000 - Renault launches the Laguna II - the first European family car to feature "keyless" entry and ignition.
2001 - Renault sold its industrial vehicle subdivision (Renault Vehicules
Industriels) to Volvo, which renamed it Renault Trucks in 2002. The Clio undergoes a major facelift and the launch of a 1.5 direct-injection diesel engine to keep it competitive in the supermini sector.
2002 - Benetton Formula One team formally becomes Renault F1, Renault increases its stake in Nissan to 44.4 percent.
2002 - Renault gains another European Car of the Year success with its second generation Megane, a quirky-looked car which is set to form the basis of Nissan's Almera replacement later in the decade.
2003 - Renault expands in Megane hatchback range with coupe-cabriolet, estate (SportsTourer) and sedan
(SportsSaloon) variants. The second generation Scenic is introduced.
2004 - The Renault factory in Billancourt is demolished. The 7-seat Grand Scenic and Modus is introduced.
2005 - Carlos Ghosn becomes president.
2005 - The Clio III is elected European Car of the Year 2006 and gains plaudits from all over Europe for its class-leading qualities. The previous generation Clio is set to continue for a while until the Twingo II goes on sale. Renault F1 win the constructors world championship as well as the drivers championship.
2006 - In February, Carlos Ghosn announced the "Renault Commitment 2009" plan focusing on three main goals :
sell 800 000 more cars than in 2006
Reach an operating margin of 6%
Place the new Laguna in terms of quality and service rate.
The same year, Renault and Nissan engaged talks with General Motors to study a potential alliance. This approach was finally abandoned due to the fact that GM asked for money as "entry ticket" from Renault. Renault F1 win the constructors world championship as well as the drivers championship for the second year in succession.
2007 - The third generation Laguna is introduced, with the objective to strengthen Renault's position in the large family car sector.
2008 - Job-cut plan (4800) partly due to Laguna whose sales have fallen short of expectations.