Renault S.A. is a French automobile manufacturer established in 1899. Renault is no stranger to the United States market, but never really did well here. American Motors Corporation (AMC) and Renault had a partnership in the mid-1970s that lasted until 1987, when Renault sold AMC to Chrysler. Renault started selling models through AMC dealerships starting in 1976 with the Renault 5 hatchback, re-branded as “Renault Le Car” for the U.S. market.
A 5-door model of the “Le Car” was added for the 1981 model year. In 1983, the “Le Car” was discontinued, and thereafter, Renault models were no longer imported into the United States as full cars off the harbor port. Parts were now shipped from France in crates and built in America. The replacement car for the “Le Car” was the Renault Alliance, Encore and GTA. These 3 variants of the Renault Alliance were essentially “Americanized” (FMVSS & EPA compliant) versions of the Renault 9 & 11 models sold overseas. The Alliance was either a 2 or 4 door sedan or a 2 door convertible. The Encore was a 3 or 5 door hatchback which was added in 1984. The GTA was a sport version of the Alliance’s 2 door sedan and 2 door convertible, but no hatchbacks or 4 door sedans were offered in this version. Renault pulled out of the U.S. market in 1987, discontinuing production that same year, shortly after Renault sold AMC to Chrysler. Renault currently has an alliance partnership with Nissan, and share technology and engines between each other. Diesel Nissan vehicles in Europe, for example, have a Renault-sourced diesel engines that are put in those vehicles as part of the agreement.