Thursday, 26 May 2016

RENAULT Brand History

A business started by 3 brothers in France in 1899, has turned decades later into a very profitable business, considering that now Renault is the 4th largest automaker in the world thanks to its partnership with Nissan.

The brainchild of an enthusiastic engineer named Louis Renault, the company was created in association with his two brothers who ran the financial side while he took care of the “mechanics”. From the very beginning, Louis managed to show innovation when he invented and later patented a direct drive system on his De Dion-Bouton tricycle which he already turned into a four-wheel vehicle.

Louis also understood that it would be only through racing that he would make the Renault name known to the world so he entered his vehicles in city-to-city races where his brothers acted as drivers. A number of victories earned them the notoriety they were searching for. People watching the races made orders despite the fact the cars were expensive for the time.

The company quickly developed and set up shop by the Seine. The model line-up now had several models, including the first saloon in 1902. That was also the year that Louis designed his first engine, a four-cylinder, which gave out 24 HP.

In 1903, Marcel, one of the Renault brothers died in the Paris to Madrid race in a crash, a hard blow both for the company and for Louis who would now assign professional drivers to race for Renault. Instead, he focused on bringing Renault carts to more European markets and even over to the Americas.

As the gap between the United States and Europe widened because of the war and the economic crash, Renault sought to improve production and to lower costs. After the economic crisis, he wanted to become more autonomous and started buying all sorts of businesses that provided him with the materials and parts needed to make cars. He also modernized the factory, emulating Ford and his plant, introducing assembly plants in 1922.

During the economic crash of the 30s, all car manufacturers had to suffer and Renault was no exception. The company was forced to cut costs, reduce staff and become more efficient in production. That's why it started expanding into other areas, basically building anything with a motor attached to it. Busses, lorries, electric railcars, tractors and even airplane engines, all were now coming out of the Renault plant.

With worker strikes plaguing all of the country, Renault was nationalized by the government in 1945 in order to keep it from going bankrupt like Citroen had done some years before. The first project made by the new company was the small 4CV, but it was postponed until after WWII. For the European market, small cars were the future because they were cheap to buy and maintain.

The 4CV, introduced in 1946, proved to be a major success, much larger than initially expected. With the money the company made from sales, it bought and developed heavy machinery to help with production. Renault then turned again to the heavy goods sector and by merging two existing companies, Latil and Somua, they created a new company, completely dedicated to making trucks – Saviem.

As the 4CV aged, a new model was ready to surface, the Dauphine, which appeared in 1956. It too enjoyed great success, even in the US. In fact, it was so successful over the ocean that Renault had to set up a special transport company, CAT, to accommodate the high demand. Next, the Renault 4 and the Renault 8 took over where the Dauphine left off in 1961.

Renault started the 70s with another success, the sportier and more agile Renault 5, which owed its favorable welcome to its fuel efficiency during the oil crisis. But this didn't mean that the company was safe during these turbulent times. In a bid to retake the American market, Renault started assembling Rambler complete knock down kits and marketing them as Renault Ramblers.

Also during the 70s, Renault began expanding its influence and opened up plants in Eastern Europe, Africa and even Australia. The partnership with the American AMC company came in 1979. At the beginning of the 80s, Renault found itself in financial trouble again and the chairman of the company at the time decided to pull the company out of racing altogether, as well as selling all non-essential assets and cutting costs left and right.

The good news was that by 1987 the company began turning the balance in favor of profit, so that at the beginning of the 90s, a whole new line up was released on the market and all models proved successful: the new Clio, the new Espace, Twingo and the Laguna. The 1995 Renault Megane was the first car ever to achieve a four-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests.

Also during the 90s, Renault returned to Formula 1 racing and with success nonetheless, having won the Championship in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997. In 1996 it was decided that a state-owned status of the company would not benefit in the long run so it was privatized again. Renault made further investments in Brazil, Argentina and Turkey.

After 2000, it launched a series of less successful vehicles like the Avantime and the Vel Satis, but also continued successfully with older series like the Clio, Laguna and Megane. Now the government owns 15,7% of the company, which has since bought Romanian car manufacturers Dacia and the South Korean Samsung not to mention 20% of Volvo (rumors have said that Renault was interesting in a total buy out).

Thursday, 21 April 2016

2016 Renault Sandero

Everything Renault launches of late seems to turn to gold. The new Clio is a great example and the recently launched Duster is even better. But the French brand has now turned its eyes to the entry-level market and replaced the Sandero with a completely new offering. And what an offering it is.
On the menu of this new French cuisine is a host of new upgrades and a lot of best-in-class features. Built on the same platform as the Clio, the Sandero hatch combines little ‘big car’ portions with the latest in engine technologies to offer the South African motoring public a product that is hard to ignore.
While the previous-generation Sandero may have had a few hiccups and a rather dull design, this new beauty regains some of the elegance the brand is renowned for.
Combining youthful and modern styling, it certainly looks the part in a segment that offers aging stock. But the Sandero’s centrepiece diamond-shaped badge gracing the front of the bonnet and dominating the black grille complements its fresh fa├žade.The integrated roof spoiler and body coloured side mirrors along with the 15-inch alloy wheels (standard on the Dynamique) hint at a sporty undertone.
But probably where the biggest technological jump can be found is under the hood, because the Sandero now utilises the same three-cylinder 900cc turbo-engine found in the new Clio. It’s an extremely smooth powerplant that proves that downsizing is the way of the future. Capable of offering a relatively sporty drive from its 66kW of power and 135Nm of torque, it can go from standstill to 100km/h in 11.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 175km/h.
Granted, it’s not going to beat any land speed records, but it will be a treat at the pumps, particularly with where the fuel price is headed. Renault claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.2 litres/100km and we know these figures are usually largely unattainable. However, at the launch we managed to muster up a very impressive 5.5 litres/100km while driving like a young Sebastian Vettel, making the claimed figure that much more impressive. The CO2 emissions rating is 119g/km.
After spending a decent amount of time behind the wheel, you begin to appreciate the new Sandero for what it is: a well-specced machine, built with cost and style in mind.
The drive may be slightly dull as you go through the motions sitting in traffic, but everything you need to keep you company is there.
From the Bluetooth functionality, MP3 radio with USB, air conditioning for those hot days to electric front and rear windows, the car is properly loaded - even boasting cruise control, which is unheard of in this segment. Space and practicality can’t be ignored either. Boot space is a best-in-class 292 litres while the large interior can fit four adult occupants.
Without sounding like a salesman, the Sandero isn’t lacking much, because wait, that’s not all. On the safety front it boasts ABS and EBD as well as EBA. Furthermore, ESP and hill start assist are fitted across the range, along with Isofix fasteners and driver and passenger airbags. In the higher Dynamique spec, consumers will also benefit from front side airbags.
Having jam-packed the Sandero full of the latest tech, Renault is clearly out to make a statement with this car, leaving the consumer wanting nothing extra. In such a hotly contested segment it seems like the French have done their homework, especially with such a good price proposition.
The only thing you may be found wanting is an automatic option as the five-speed manual box can get tedious to use in traffic and for the oil-burner lovers among us, perhaps a diesel derivative.
Ultimately it’s a user-friendly car, especially on the pocket of the cash-strapped consumer. While it doesn’t ooze personality or an engaging drive, for the nine-to-five work week, it’s perfect.The new Sandero comes with Renault’s industry leading 5-year/150 000km warranty completed by a standard 2-year/30 000km service plan.
Thinking of owning your own Renault Sandero? If you are in South Africa - contact Group 1 Renault today.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Definitely worth the wait: Renault Captur 2016

The Renault Duster a multi-dimensional SUV

If you are a Renault fan, you will love the Renault Duster. A stunningly designed SUV, the Renault Duster is not only a great family car, but also a very capable off-road vehicle.
Fun and versatile, the Duster SUV features perceptively designed technology, a stunning range of accessories to meet your needs, and four different equipment packages that will take your Duster to the next level.

Technology in the Duster SUV
The Renault SUV boasts some cool technologies. The 1.5 dCi Dynamique 4×4 features a 4WD control system. The image of addictiveness, this system has three modes you can choose from:

  • LOCK: Designed for more challenging off-road adventures, the LOCK mode in the Duster 4×4 delivers a permanent distribution of torque and power to all four the wheels.
  • 2WD: Designed for roads that offer a good grip condition, the 2WD mode delivers torque and power to the front wheels.
  • AUTO: Designed for situations where potentially slippery road surfaces are present, the AUTO mode detects spinning wheels and then automatically distributes torque and power to help preserve traction.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Renault Clio Review

Renault Clio

Ever since the late 1940s, Renault’s range has featured an unbroken line of interesting small cars, of which the Clio has been one of the most successful.
More than 12 million have found homes and, along the way, the Clio has found and enjoyed a youthful, vibrant image.

Earlier variants of the Clio deserved that rep, too: being agile, neatly designed, compact, engineered for some dynamism and intelligently marketed.

But – and Renault wasn’t alone in this – during the mid 2000s, when the Clio III arrived, some of that purity was lost. The Clio became bigger and heavier, and went searching – with honourable intent – for more refinement and class, growing up with its customers.

With the extra refinement it found, however, it lost something, as did several of its peers during the past decade. Out went a bit of what Renault used to dub the ‘va-va-voom’.

Which brings us to Clio IV: it’s notably leaner and cleaner than its predecessor. It is also offered with a range of engines, including a frugal 0.9-litre three-cylinder TCe petrol engine and a 1.5-litre dCi diesel, and a decent range of kit.

Question is, has all of that reintroduced some of the joie de vivre? Let’s find out.

Design & Styling

Renault Clio cornering
First impression? The new Clio is bold, make no mistake. Even though it is sculpted to appear much more lithe than its immediate ancestor, it still looks like a Clio to us. Even, we suspect, were it not wearing a Renault diamond the size of a dinner plate on its nose.
There are differences in proportion, though. Renault has made quite a big play of the fact that the wheelbase is longer than on Clio III (by 14mm, up to 2589mm) but while this is likely to have an effect on handling, it doesn’t help place the wheels closer to each corner, because overall length is up by 30mm.
With that too, though, has come an increase in track, a more steeply raked windscreen and a much lower height: at 1448mm, the latest Clio’s roof sits some 45mm closer to the ground than a Clio III’s.
All of which leaves it looking more dynamic. Renault also reckons that, model for model, the new car is some 100kg lighter than the old one. The Clio III did, in fairness, carry easy pounds to lose, but even so, at this level 100kg is not an amount to be sniffed at.
The range of new engines in the Clio reflects that of its rivals, catering for most tastes and requirements. The entry-level engine is a basic 1.2-litre 16V petrol unit. A modern turbocharged 0.9-litre three-pot TCe petrol is also offered, as well as an 89bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel.
All versions claim admirable levels of economy and efficiency, particularly if you choose the optional ECO derivatives of the diesel and TCe engines. These emit and consume less than the standard ones, although only by negligible amounts.
Renault Clio rear cornering
There are three engine choices for the Clio. Buyers can pick from a basic 74bhp 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, a more powerful turbocharged three-cylinder TCe petrol or an 89bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel.

The mid-range engine option is a TCe unit, the conceit being that you’re getting 1.4-litre performance with greatly reduced fuel consumption, but that’s potentially a little misleading. We have, after all, tested other superminis of a similar displacement that are both faster and more efficient.
Nevertheless, it’s a good engine. Quiet, refined and responsive, its light-pressure delivery suits the Renault right down to the ground. The engine only really feels turbocharged at very low revs, otherwise it pulls cleanly and with stoutness through the mid-range while holding on to its power at high revs. it's also particularly smooth throughout. Ford’s EcoBoost triple may be more powerful, but it can’t match this Clio’s lack of noise and vibration.

The diesel engine is the more mature choice. It feels quicker than the figures suggest and it’s so quiet and refined that you’d struggle to tell it’s a diesel. Pleasantly, it’s also a tractable engine with a wide torque band, so you don’t have to work the gearbox as hard as you would in the petrol versions.

Admittedly the diesel does add 62kg to the kerb weight of the petrol model, leading to it feeling slightly less agile as a result. Those interested in maximum enjoyment should, consequently, stick to the zesty TCe option. There’s also a 1.2-litre engine carried over from the old model, producing 74bhp and 79lb ft of torque.

In all versions, the shift quality is light but well defined, and brake pedal feel is good. Overall, the Renault Clio is an entirely pleasant device, peppy at times and quite suave at others, with the flexibility and polish to take mixed daily motoring duties in its stride, from motorway miles to cross-country backroads and the urban sprawl.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Car buying tips for 2016 in SA

We found this article around car buying and financing very informative and useful and would like to share it.
With the arrival of 2016, many car buyers will be looking to have a car registered in the new year, having delayed the decision from the last month of 2015.
This exercise is not uncommon, but it does have its drawbacks. Often a car purchased in January will have been subject to a price increase meaning your decision to delay could hit you where it hurts most – your pocket.
So, whether you are looking at buying a Renault Clio or Renault Duster, it may require careful budgeting to ensure you can keep up with the monthly installments. WesBank provides advice on how to make the car buying experience less painful.
The most important part of the car-buying journey is compiling a list of all current expenses and income, says Rudolf Mahoney, head of brand and communication at WesBank.
“It is important to shop around and compare car prices to find a sensible and affordable car that fits within your budget. On average, a young professional that buys their first car at around the age of 25 and replaces their car every five or so years will have financed around eight cars in their car-buying lifespan.”
The first car you buy and the way you manage your funds shapes your financial future and determines whether you will be stuck in cycle of debt till you retire, Mahoney said.
“The amount that’s left over is your disposable income. But you can’t use that entire amount to pay for the car loan,” said Mahoney. “Budget for fuel, insurance, tyres, service costs and more – and remember that those costs can change throughout the year.”
Vehicle running costs need to be accommodated in a buyer’s budget. It is also advisable to have leeway in a budget to accommodate for rising fuel prices and unexpected service costs.
Once disposable income has been calculated, and all running costs budgeted for, buyers should easily be able to arrive at an amount that they can comfortably afford to pay on a car loan, each month.
However, the temptation to spend just R100 or R200 more might exist, especially if it could get them into a slightly better car, Wesbank cautioned.
“Be realistic about what you can afford and don’t stray from that budget – it might not end up being worth it,” said Mahoney.
“Rather buy a car that you can pay off easily and quickly. Three or four years down the line you’ll be able to trade that car in and really afford the model with all the bells and whistles.”
Once you’ve decided on a car and have done all your budgeting homework, look at how you’d like to structure your contract. A shorter finance term will mean higher monthly repayments, but you’ll end up paying far less in interest fees.
Additionally, you will be able to trade your vehicle in sooner and while it’s worth is more on the second-hand market. WesBank’s Vehicle Payment and Insurance calculator let’s you play around with all the variables so that you can structure your contract.
A longer finance term can help buyers who want lower payments and less pressure on their monthly budgets. The maximum contract term is 72 months, so think ahead of what your needs will be in six years, and whether you want a financial commitment for that long.
Paying a large deposit will also assist in reducing the monthly payments. A deposit is essentially a large initial payment, and lowers the amount of money you will need to borrow from the bank.
Borrowing less money also means paying less overall interest.
If absolutely necessary, buyers can also consider using a balloon payment. This is a large amount, like a deposit, but only paid at the end of the contract. This means that after 60 or 72 months of paying instalments you will still need to make a large payment.
“If you remember to save up every month, you’ll avoid the shock of a balloon payment,” said Mahoney.
“A balloon can be used to help lower monthly instalments, but they should be considered as a last resort and used wisely.”
Finally, there are many value-added products that buyers can make use of to get the best value for their money. These include insurance products that let you claim to repair paint chips and minor dents, or even your tyres and wheels.
Value-added products such as these do not replace comprehensive insurance policies, but rather supplement them, and avoid buyers having to claim from their insurance provider for minor issues.
Other value-added products include financial insurance. One example is the deposit protectors, which will refund a deposit amount in the event that the vehicle is stolen or written off in an accident; top-up cover, which will cover any financial shortfalls if an insurance provider’s payout does not cover the entire loan amount; retrenchment cover, which can cover your budget if you get retrenched, by paying for up to nine vehicle instalments; and a personal health policy, which can take care of your finances when the unforeseen happens.
“Value-added products can bring some peace-of-mind to a car purchase,” said Mahoney. “Cars are expensive, so you can invest in a few safety nets to ensure that you don’t become financially constrained in tough times.”
Visit reputable car dealers, such as the Renault Dealerships across South Africa for good advice on different financing options.
Article shared on: Bonjour Renault

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Car Buyers UK reviews the 4th Generation Clio

We just love the Renault Clio and with the 4th generation just launched in Europe, we share this review originally posted on
"The fourth-generation Clio is bigger and more stylish than ever, as well as being one of the most affordable superminis to buy and run – if not the best to drive."
The Renault Clio is one of the more attractive superminis on sale, backed up by a range of efficient diesel and petrol engines, good refinement and comfort and a host of personalisation options. Rivals are plentiful and include the solid and classy Volkswagen Polo, the dependable Vauxhall Corsa and the best-selling Ford Fiesta
Unlike most of its competitors, the Clio is available as a five-door only, although thanks to clever styling, it could pass as a three-door. There's a Clio for everyone, from the person who just wants an urban runaround to the sports-car driver seeking an adrenaline rush.
Thanks to some glossy black plastic trim, the interior looks quite fresh and classy, while the Dynamique Nav version has a large tablet-style touchscreen display. However, it's all a bit rattly and there are some cheap plastics lower down in the cabin.
There's more than enough space in the front of the Clio, but rear-seat passengers will feel short-changed. There's not much space back there, a situation made worse by the sloping roofline and high-set seats. On the plus side, the Clio's boot is surprisingly large for a supermini, and easy to load.
The Clio comes in five trim levels, ranging from Play (replacing Expression+ trim) to GT Line Nav. We like the mid-range Dynamique Nav, which has alloy wheels, sat nav, a seven-inch touchscreen - now with a clearer, more sensitive screen - and air-conditioning as standard.
Reliability has never been the Clio's strong point, but indications are that the current model is a big improvement on its predecessors in this respect. Its safety credentials are very impressive. Euro NCAP awarded the car five stars for crash-worthiness, while standard equipment includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and emergency braking assistance. [End of Review]
As South Africans we are lucky to have many Renault approved dealerships across the country, eg. Group 1 Renault in Stellenbosch, one of the best Renault Western Cape dealers on the block.
Originally posted on Joie de Vivre Vehicles