The Renault auto company really began with Lois Renault, an aspiring young Parisian engineer that decided to take the historic challenge of driving his own A-type Voiturette up Rue Lepic (a steep, winding road in Paris). This vehicle included a "direct drive" (gearbox) system that would revolutionize the automobile industry once Renault received his patent. The challenge won him twelve orders of his A-Type vehicle, and his Renault company grew as it began to do well in European racing segments as well. The Renault Brothers company was created in 1899 was his brothers, Fernand and Marcel, and they allowed Lois in on the premise that he produce successful new inventions.
The first Renault cars were retailed for three-thousand francs, which was about 10 years' worth of average salary at that point in history, but the company expanded nonetheless. The company produced several different models in these years, including the original sedan (saloon) vehicle. Louis also produced the first Renault engine, which had 24 horsepower and four cylinders. Soon after, he would get a patent for the industry's first turbo engine. After WWI, Renault produced every vehicle with an engine, including vans, trucks, tractors, railcars, buses, etc. Lois gained resources and sites in every industry he needed to be successful in this industry. Renault's first assembly line began in 1929.
Renault took a hard hit during WWII, and during 1945 the company was rationalized. This led to the Renault 4CV model, designed to be a car for "everyman." It was tough, plain, small, and inexpensive. Mass production of this vehicle lasted from 1947-1961. It was also exported to other countries, and this brought in a lot of income for Renault. When the 4CV was a decade old, in 1956, the Renault Dauphine replaced it. The Dauphine was a huge success, both in France and elsewhere across the globe. I1959, the Dauphine even outsold the Volkswagen Beetle in America. By 1960 though, things had changed, and Renault was facing economic hardship. It soon recovered, however, and in 1975 Renault built over a million passenger vehicles; several of these were built in other countries. Renault again tried to be successful in America by joining forces with established companies there. The company also entered, and succeeded in Formula One racing endeavors. Unfortunately, shortly afterward, the company also began to experience social and political upheaval, as well as troubles within the company's upper echelon of power. In 1994, Renault almost merged with auto manufacturer Volvo, but the merger was killed at the last minute, although Volvo kept a small share of the company, as did the French government.
Renault found that it had a need to better compete with other European auto manufacturers like Peugeot and Volkswagen in the late 1990s. In 1999, Renault signed into partnership with Nissan, an, in the 21st century, the company began creating outlandish, unique, and distinct designs. 2004 was a great year for the company, as it saw a large rise in sales. In 2010, Renault also announced a partnership with Daimler. Some current Renault models include: the Cio Campus and Cio II, the Espace IV, the Fluence, the Kangoo II, the Koleos, the Laguna III, and the Latitude.