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Industry Automotive industry
Founded 1955[1]
Defunct 1978 (merged into Renault Véhicules Industriels)[1][2][3]
Headquarters Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Products Trucks, commercial vehicles, Buses

Saviem (Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d'Equipements Mécaniques) was a French manufacturer of trucks and buses/coaches and a part of the Renault group. Its successors today are Renault Trucks in the truck business and Irisbus in the coach-building world.


At the end of 1946, Renault abandoned the production of heavy trucks in view of its financial troubles, and the company lost the position of France's market leader which it had before World War II. However, the rapid development and production concentration on that sector made Renault to seek ways to enter into the market. In 1950, the Renault's technical chief, Fernand Picard, elaborated a plan to launch a limited range of trucks and buses with a single 105 CV engine, taking advantage of the economies of scale, which proved unsuccessful. In 1953, the strategy was changed and Renault decided to acquire rival manufacturers, starting with Somua and Latil.[4] The company Saviem was formed in October 1955 by the merger of Renault's trucks and buses manufacturing operations with Somua and Latil[1] and both Schneider (owner of Somua) and the Blum family (owner of Latil) had stakes in the new company.[4] From 1957 onwards, Saviem-LRS appeared as marque's name on the company's products (the acronym representing the former marques Latil, Renault and Somua), which was later simplified to Saviem.[citation needed] In 1959, Renault took the whole control of Saviem. The range of the company consisted of small commercial vehicles derived of Renault's existing models (Goélette and Galion) and new medium and heavy trucks with Alfa Romeo engines and Chausson support. With an aggressive market approach centred in volume rather than quality, Saviem became the leader by sales in France.[4]

During the early 1960s the company introduced a renovated JL heavy trucks range, with a revised design[1] and, in 1964, a S range of medium duty trucks (with Renault and Perkins engines), unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.[5] In January 1961, Saviem took control of the bus manufacturer Floirat, based at Annonay.[6] That year, Saviem signed a cooperation agreement with Henschel-Werke.[7] In 1962, Pierre Dreyfus decided to expand the European partnerships of Saviem and the company received a large capital amount from the French State for recapitalisation and modernisation and also the Limoges factory, which manufactured diesel engines. Between 1963 and 1966, Saviem moved most of its production from the Paris area to Blainville-sur-Orne and Annonay.[4] In 1967, the Blainville-sur-Orne factory produced 26,000 large goods vehicles and the Annonay factory 1,777 buses/coaches.[8]

From 1963 to 1977, Saviem cooperated with MAN of Germany (in 1967 the cooperation was expanded). As part of the agreement Saviem supplied cabs and in return MAN supplied axles and engines. The result of this was the launch of the SM (Saviem-MAN)[9] and JM[5] truck ranges in France. Renault also introduced the Super Galion, in partnership with Avia.[4] In 1975 Saviem, together with DAF, Volvo and Magirus-Deutz (soon after to become a part of Iveco) became co-founder of the Club of Four cooperation to produce medium-sized trucks.[1] The same year Saviem, Fiat and Alfa Romeo concluded the construction of a joint production facility for engines (Sofim) in Foggia, Italy, at a cost of US$250 million.[10]

In January 1968, the main Saviem factory at Blainville-sur-Orne was the setting for one of the first workers' protests that led to the French May.[11]

As a result of companies' reorganisation and a French State decision of unifying the heavy vehicle production in France, in 1975 Renault also acquired the truck and bus manufacturer Berliet from the Michelin group. In 1978, Berliet and Saviem were merged to form Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI).[3][4] Again, the old marque names were retained for two more years while the model lineups gradually were assimilated, until in 1980 they were replaced by the name Renault and the Saviem name disappeared.[citation needed] In 1977, its last year as a separate company within Renault, Saviem manufactured 35,059 buses/coaches and trucks.[3]



TRM 4000


ZR 20
  • ZR 20
  • SC10
  • S45
  • S53
  • S105
  • E7 coach


  1. ^ a b c d e Carroll, John; Davies, Peter James (2007). Complete Book Tractors and Trucks. Hermes House. pp. 66–67. ISBN 1-843-09689-7. 
  2. ^ Kolodziej, Edward A. (1983). "France". In Ball, Nicole; Leitenberg, Milton. The Structure of the Defense Industry: An International Survey. Routledge. p. 85. ISBN 0-7099-1611-6. 
  3. ^ a b c "Fourth Section: Manufacturer's profile". Transit bus manufacturer profiles (Washington DC: U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Office of Technical Assistance, Office of Bus and Paratransit Systems): 128–137. October 1982. OCLC 9384438. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Greve, Jean François (2007). "Stratégies d'enterprise et action publique". In Moguen-Toursel, Marine. Firm strategies and public policy in integrated Europe (1950–1980): confrontation and learning of economic actors. Peter Lang. pp. 197–231. ISBN 978-90-5201-045-8. 
  5. ^ a b Reyes, Francis (1996). 100 ans d'illustrations de pub camions [100 years of illustrations of trucks] (in French). ETAI. p. 108. ISBN 2-726-8-8197-1. 
  6. ^ Moneta, Erich H. (1963). Die europäische Automobilindustrie; Unternehmungen und Produktion [The european automotive industry. Companies and production] (in German). A. Lutzeyer. p. 143. OCLC 7752994. 
  7. ^ "Around the world". Foreign Commerce Weekly (Washington DC: US Department of Commerce) 65 (22): 4. 2 May 1961. ISSN 0097-3041. 
  8. ^ "Bird's eye view". Commercial Motor (London: Temple Press) 128 (3305). 17 January 1969. ISSN 0010-3063. 
  9. ^ Peck, Colin (2013). British and European Trucks of the 1970s. Veloce Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-845844-15-8. 
  10. ^ Cohen, Robert (1980). "La restructuration internationale de l'industrie automobile" [International restructuring of the automotive industry]. Revue d'économie industrielle (in French) (Éditions De Boeck Supérieur) (11): 24. doi:10.3406/rei.1980.1956. ISSN 1773-0198. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Hirou, Amandine (22 May 2008). "1968, année explosive" [1968, explosive year]. (in French). L'Express. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 

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