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Renault has a proud tradition in Ireland stretching back almost 60 years. Find out more about Ireland's long association with Renault vehicles, from the first Ballsbridge showroom in the early 1950s to their leading the way with their Renault double scrappage scheme in 2009 / 2010.
1950s - The first showroom
Stephen O'Flaherty acquired the Renault Franchise for Ireland in the early 1950's. He opened his Renault showrooms in a famous Dublin landmark on the corner of Shelbourne Road in Ballsbridge.
1965 - Wexford assembly line
In 1964, Con Smith purchased the Renault Franchise believing that Renault had a future in Ireland. He pursued his vision and Renault car assembly began in 1965 on a 5 acre site on the Wexford town waterfront.
Output that year was 400 units, about 0.5% of the market. Sales subsequently rose to 10% of the market which assured the future of the group in Ireland.
1970s - Renault flourishes
In 1972 the Smith Group was bought by Waterford Glass. During the 1970s the Renault group flourished. In 1980 the magnificent Wilton dealership opened in Cork at a cost of £1 million.
1980s - Recession hits
The recession of the 1980's threw the Irish car industry into a tail spin. New car registrations plummeted from 106,000 in 1981 to a low of 55,732 new cars in 1987. This slump left a trail of motor company disasters in its wake.
1986 - Renault franchise bought for £1
In 1986, following a series of losses, the Renault franchise was acquired by Bill Cullen, a successful Ford main dealer in Dublin - for the now famous £1.
1999 - Renault resurgent
Bill founded the Citygate group in 1999, opening 5 dealers across the Country, Liffey Valley, Airside, Galway, Portlaoise and Ennis. Under Bill the company grew from strength to strength and the year 2000 was one of the best years on record for the Motor Industry.
2007 - Renault France take over
In November 2007, Renault France took over the running from Bill Cullen. The following year recession bit again and the ensuing motor industry collapse led to garages closing all over the country.
2009 & 2010 – Kings of Scrappage
In September 2009, Renault launched their own scrappage scheme ahead of the government scrappage announcement. Renault stole the lead and remains out in front for the numbers of cars it has sold under the scheme. This Renault renaissance continues in 2010 as nearly one in five (18pc) of all scrappages to May month end was a Renault.
2011 The future is electric
Renault are committed to the electric car as seen in their ZE range of electric vehicles. Renault Ireland will be introducing the Kangoo ZE, followed by the Fluence ZE to Ireland in September 2011 so watch out for Renault EVs on the streets of your town!
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