Thursday, December 30, 2021

Louis Renault – French industrialist and pioneer of the automobile industry

Louis Renault (February 12, 1877 —Oct. 24, 1944, Paris) was born in Paris, He was a manufacturer who built the largest automobile company in France.

His father Alfred had left Saumur, a small town in western France to open a dry-goods business in Paris, manufacturing fabric and buttons, in 1859. Renault did poor in school and later he converted his family’s country home garden shed into his first workshop.
Renault built his first automobile in 1898. He demonstrated the advantages of this motorcar by driving up steep Rue Lepic. The vehicle performed so convincingly that his friends immediately pledged funds to the venture, placing orders for twelve copies of the Voiturette. Renault’s’ brother Fernand and Marcell also decided to back-up Louis and together they established Société Renault Fréres in early 1899.

He together with his brothers Fernand and Marcel later built a series of small. Renault vehicles attracted much attention and they winning numerous road races. When Marcel was killed during a Paris-Madrid run in 1903, it marked the end of intercity races, and convinced Louis Renault to give up motor sports.

During WWI, France government commissioned Renault AG to build airplane engines, ammunition, and the vital FT–17 tanks. The company continued to increase production volume and after the war extended the production to include farm equipment, marine and industrial machinery, and diesel motors.

His continued production of military equipment under the German occupation in World War II. He argued that "by continuing operations he had saved thousands of workers from being transported to Germany". In 1944 he was arrested and put in jail for his business collaboration with France's pro–Nazi Vichy puppet government during WW II. He died in custody while awaiting trial; the Renault company was subsequently nationalized.
Louis Renault – French industrialist and pioneer of the automobile industry

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