[WORLDKINGS] Top 100 founders of the companies over 100-years and still in business – P38 - Louis Renault; Marcel Renault and Fernand Renault (France): Three brothers write the 121 year history of Renault SA, the leading French car company (1899)


(WorldKings.org) Groupe Renault (legally Renault S.A.) is a French multinational automobile manufacturer. The Renault corporation was founded on 25 February 1899 as Société Renault Frères by Louis Renault and his brothers Marcel and Fernand.

The fourth of six children born into the bourgeois Parisian family of Alfred and Berthe Renault, Louis Renault (12 February 1877 – 24 October 1944) attended Lycée Condorcet. He was fascinated by engineering and mechanics from an early age and spent hours in the Serpollet steam car workshop or tinkering with old Panhard engines in the tool shed of the family's second home in Billancourt.



He built his first car in 1898, hiring a pair of workmen to modify a used 3⁄4 hp (560 W) De Dion-Bouton cycle which featured a revolutionary universally jointed driveshaft and a three-speed gearbox with reverse, with the third gear in direct drive (which he patented a year later). Renault called his car the Voiturette. On 24 December 1898, he won a bet with his friends that his invention with an innovative crankshaft could beat a car with a bicycle-like chain drive up the slope of Rue Lepic in Montmartre. As well as winning the bet, Renault received 13 definite orders for the vehicle.


Marcel Renault 


Seeing the commercial potential, he teamed up with his two older brothers, Marcel Renault (14 May 1872 – 26 May 1903) and Fernand Renault (28 November 1864, Paris – 22 March 1909, Paris), who had business experience from working in their father's button and textiles firm. They formed the Renault Frères company on 25 February 1899. While Louis handled design and production, Marcel and Fernand managed the business.


Fernand Renault


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 brothers recognised the value of publicity that participation in motor racing could generate for their vehicles. Renault made itself known through succeeding in the first city-to-city races held in Switzerland, producing rapid sales growth.



Both Louis and Marcel raced company vehicles, but Marcel was killed in an accident during the 1903 Paris-Madrid race. Louis took full control of the company as the only remaining brother in 1906 when Fernand retired for health reasons. Fernand died in 1909 and Louis became the sole owner, renaming the company Société des Automobiles Renault (Renault Automobile Company).



Renault remained in complete control of his company until 1942, dealing with its rapid expansion while designing several new inventions, most of which are still in use today, such as hydraulic shock absorbers, the modern drum brake and compressed gas ignition.

When Renault's health quickly declined on 9 October 1944 he was again moved to a private nursing home at the clinic Saint-Jean-de-Dieu in the Rue Oudinot, Paris at the request of his family. He died on 24 October 1944.

According to en.wikipedia

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