The Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d'Équipements Mécaniques (French pronunciation: commonly known by the acronym Saviem (French pronunciation: ​was a French manufacturer of trucks and buses/coaches part of the Renault group, headquartered in SuresnesÎle-de-France. The company was established in 1955 by merging Renault heavy vehicle operations with Somua and Latil and disappeared in 1978 when was merged with former rival Berliet to form Renault Véhicules Industriels.

The company initially had various factories for vehicle production around France (mainly at the Paris area) which came from its predecessors and Chausson, but it soon centred assembly on Blainville-sur-Orne (trucks) and Annonay (buses and coaches). Saviem formed partnerships with other manufacturers, leading to technology-sharing agreements.


Share of Saviem-LRS, issued 9. May 1956
A Saviem SG2

Early years

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. The company Saviem was formed in October 1955 by the merger of Renault's trucks and buses manufacturing operations with Somua and Latil and both Schneider (owner of Somua) and the Blum family (owner of Latil) had stakes in the new company. Initially, the Saviem name was added besides the existing badges of the three forming companies but, 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 simplified to Saviem in 1960. In 1959, Saviem became a whole-owned subsidiary of Renault. The early range of the company consisted of small commercial vehicles derived of Renault's existing models (Goélette and Galion), new medium and heavy trucks with Alfa Romeo engines and Chausson support for the coach/bus production. With an aggressive market approach focussed in volume rather than quality, Saviem became the leader by sales in France.

New vehicles and partnerships

During the early 1960s the company introduced a renovated JL heavy and medium duty trucks range with a revised design,new buses and coaches and, in 1964, a S range of medium duty trucks (with Renault and Perkins engines), unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. In January 1961, Saviem took control of the bus manufacturer Floirat, based at Annonay. That year, Saviem signed a cooperation agreement with Henschel-Werke. 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. It also got 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. In 1967, the Blainville-sur-Orne factory produced 26,000 large goods vehicles and the Annonay factory 1,777 buses/coaches. In 1965, Saviem acquired the French heavy equipment manufacturer Richard-Continental in a bid to compete with Caterpillar.

From 1963 to 1977, Saviem cooperated with MAN of Germany (in 1967 such 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) and JM truck ranges in France. Renault also introduced the Super Galion, in partnership with Avia. In 1975 Saviem, together with DAFVolvo 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. At the same time, Saviem signed an agreement with DAC in Romania to provide engines for their new 6135. The same year Saviem also acquired Sinpar and completed, together with Fiat and Alfa Romeo, the construction of a joint production facility for engines (Sofim) in Foggia, Italy, at a cost of US$250 million.

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.

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