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RENAULT TRUCKS CELEBRATES THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LYON SITE
PAYING TRIBUTE TO MARIUS BERLIET
During 2016 Renault Trucks has been actively engaged in paying tribute to Marius Berliet and celebrating the history of the men and women who helped spread the French truck's reputation from their bases in Vénissieux and Saint-Priest on the outskirts of Lyon. The Lyon site, the cradle of the Renault Trucks brand, continues to design and build tomorrow's transport solutions.
In 1915, Marius Berliet made the decision to buy up a large number of plots of land in the east of Lyon and build a production plant in Vénissieux. After outgrowing the Monplaisir site in Lyon's 8th arrondissement, he needed room to undertake his ambitious projects, meet the urgent demand for trucks and contribute to the war effort by producing weapons for the French Army in the grip of the First World War. Marius was up against a huge challenge: in record time, he had to design, build and outfit his plant even as production began. After successfully meeting this challenge, successive extensions took the site's total area to 387 hectares on the eve of the Second World War.
But Marius Berliet had set his sights on greater things than simply building a plant: "The only motivation behind all my hard work is the burning desire to finally realise my life's dream: to create a vast, thriving industrial city". This vision gave birth to the Cité Berliet in 1917, which was built to cater for the plant's operations. This self-contained town contained housing, a school, a crèche and a farm.
Today the Lyon site houses the nerve centre of Renault Trucks and is a key component of the industrial and global engineering facilities of the Volvo Group, which the Renault Trucks brand joined in 2001. It hosts over 4,000 people work on a 180 hectare site straddling the municipalities of Vénissieux and Saint-Priest. The site is home to an engine assembly plant, a bridge and axle assembly plant, a swaging centre and a parts logistics centre.
In addition to Renault Trucks' headquarters and global management team, the Lyon site accommodates numerous tertiary activities, including a research facility with a staff of 1,300. It is mainly devoted to developing medium-duty trucks and their engines, as well as transport solutions for urban areas. A design studio boasts a team of international designer to whom we owe the design of Renault Trucks' new range of trucks launched in 2013 and whose flagship vehicle - the Renault Trucks T - was voted ‘International Truck of the Year 2015’.
The high point of the celebrations was an anniversary ceremony on November 10th 2016, which was attended by all Lyon employees, together with Martin Lundstedt (CEO of the Volvo Group) and Bruno Blin (CEO of Renault Trucks).
To help celebrate its centenary, the Lyon site is getting into the party spirit and organising a series of events to spotlight the establishment and its people:-
Employees' families have been invited to take a tour of the site in a 1968 Berliet bus, which has been specially renovated for the occasion, shuttles visitors from one location to another.
An exhibition of historical and contemporary photos retraces the history of the site and the buildings over the decades.
Graffiti signed IMPACKT
Renault Trucks has lent its walls to Lyon-based graffiti artist, Franck Asensi - known as ‘Impackt’ - to produce a giant 450m2 ‘graff’ tracing the 100 year history over its 80 metre length. It took the artist three months to produce the piece.
Driverless shuttle (NAVYA): demonstration at the Saint-Priest site
Finally, until November 23rd the Lyon factory is running demonstrations of the NAVYA ARMA - a fully-electric, autonomous public transport vehicle. This driverless, smart, innovative shuttle can carry up to 15 passengers and travel at speeds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph).