Louis Renault was born in 1877, in Paris, France. He was the fourth of six children of Alfred and Berthe Renault. Their father Alfred was a successful button manufacturer and fabric merchant. Louis Renault was fascinated by engineering and mechanics from an early age. At the family’s country home in Billancourt, outside Paris, he converted its garden shed into his first workshop.
Just a few months after launching his first car, the Voiturette Type A, Louis Renault was already thinking how it could be improved. For his first car, Renault placed the emphasis on robust design. For the Voiturette Type B, the key note was comfort.In 1899, he endowed his first car model with a roof, thus developing the vehicle today considered as the world’s first saloon.
In 1898 France was prosperous and industry was booming. The son of a rich family of haberdashers, Louis Renault started work as a draftsman at Delaunay-Belleville. But he was more interested in technical matters than in business. He set up his own workshop in the family garden shed in Boulogne-Billancourt, where he designed and built a small car in just three months. The car was just for his use and was never intended to be sold.