Renault takes a comprehensive approach to safety. Every year, the company invests EUR100 million in research and development to position its product range at the highest level of active and passive safety in the market. The aim is to guarantee all vehicle occupants - adults or children, seated in the front or rear - the same level of safety, regardless of vehicle price and size. The result: five cars with five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Renault has always used people as the starting point for the design and development of its cars. Full understanding of the "human factor" helps to optimize the development of active and passive safety systems. Many different company functions contribute to this objective. The introduction of new on-board technologies, including telematics, gives ergonomics an even more important role in the area of safety. There has to be a precise fit between safety equipment, the real needs of the driver and the driver's use of the equipment.
Prevention involves helping the driver to anticipate risks. Part of the solution lies in making the driver more responsible. This is why Renault equips its vehicles with functions that promote responsible behaviour behind the wheel, including the cruise control/speed limiter, and the visual and audible seatbelt reminder.
Road-handling and braking are the vehicle's dynamic fundamentals, underpinning active safety and accident avoidance. Even so, there are situations where technology has to intervene to compensate for driver errors. This is the aim of driver aids, which are triggered in difficult or emergency situations but never completely take over from the driver. ABS is one of these systems, and Renault also equips its models with Emergency Brake Assist and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP).
The third generation of the Renault System for Restraint and Protection (SRP) has remained unmatched in the market. It boats a combination of twin-volume airbags which adapt to the violence of impacts, a double pretensioner system, and even an anti-submarining airbag system. Renault has also widely fitted such features as pretensioners and load limiters on the back seats.
Renault has adopted an approach to safety that goes well beyond vehicle safety. The international "Safety for All" programme sets out to build road safety awareness among children and young people. Launched in 2000, it has already encouraged almost five million children aged 7 to 11 to think about road safety. In 2003 it was extended to include teenagers from 12 to 15.
Renault also develops initiatives to raise road safety awareness among its own staff. The group's Driver's Charter urges them to adopt a careful and courteous attitude behind the wheel.
Gilles Le Borgne
Executive Vice President Engineering