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.