Haulage companies have been using Renault trucks for decades, so they are no strangers to British roads. Today’s range of Renault trucks, the long-haul T series, the K and C construction truck series, the D and Master distribution trucks and vans are the latest in a long line of Renault trucks spreading back over 100 years. |
100 Years of Truck Production
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of truck production at Renault’s Lyon site. The plant, which today sprawls over 500 acres, is the central hub for the company’s worldwide truck production program. Today the facility employs over 4000 people and includes an engine assembly plant, a bridge and axle assembly plant, a cold forging (swaging) plant, and a spare parts logistics hub.
The extensive plant also hosts a 1300-person research facility which focuses on designing medium load trucks and developing transport solutions for our crowded urban environment.
The Story Begins
Marius Berliet, Renault’s founding father, had a dream. He envisaged founding a large and prosperous industrial city that combined facilities and amenities for the workers and their families with modern, up-to-date production facilities.
In 1915, Berliet bought up hundreds of acres of land near the city of Lyon in France and began developing a project, similar to Cadbury in Bournville. His dream, which he turned into a reality, included everything a modern town needed – a school, a crèche and kindergarten, a farm to produce fresh produce, homes and employment within easy reach.
Such an ambitious project couldn’t be completed overnight, especially as he began work whilst France was embroiled in the First World War and urgently needed trucks and weapons for the war effort. The project opened its doors in 1917 and was known as “Cité Berliet” - Berliet’s City. By 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, the complex included a thriving town and industrial plant that covered almost 1000 acres, providing homes and employment for thousands.
Things have changed a lot since Berliet’s day. Today the huge plant, as well as the facilities mentioned earlier, houses Renault Trucks HQ and its global management team. The creative team is responsible for designing ground-breaking trucks that are used by haulage companies in the UK and around the world.
To celebrate 100 years of industry, progress and innovation, Renault has put on many different activities for employees and families as well as the public:
• Employees and their families were taken on a guided tour of the site in a specially renovated 1968 Berliet bus.
• A photographic exhibition of contemporary and historical photographs takes the visitor through the site’s history. It is now on display at the main entrance at Vénissieux.
• French graffiti artist, Franck Asensi, known as “Impackt”, was invited to produce 450 SqM graffiti that depicted the company’s 100-year history on an 80-metre-long wall.
All that’s left to do is say “congratulations Renault” on an impressive history – let’s hope you continue to provide UK haulage companies with excellent trucks!
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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