In 1956, the company Saviem was formed as a subsidiary of Renault from the combination of Renault's own truck and bus production with the manufacturers Somua and Latil. From 1957 on, Saviem was also used as the brand name for the trucks and buses produced by the company.
As a result of French industrial policy, in 1975 state-owned Renault also acquired the truck and bus manufacturer Berliet from Citroën (at that time a part of the Michelin corporation). In 1978, Berliet and Saviem were merged to form Renault Véhicules Industriels. Again, the old brand names were retained for two more years while the model lineups gradually were incorporated, until in 1980 they were replaced by the name Renault.
Renault Midliner with Club of Four cab, late 1990s model
In 1971, Saviem became a member of the Euro Truck Development Group or Club of Four, a cooperation between four European truck producers (Saviem, Volvo, DAF and Magirus-Deutz, which soon after became a part of Iveco) for the production of medium-sized trucks. Since 1975 the truck models resulting from this cooperation were built by Saviem and later Renault, even until 2001. They were also sold on the North American market as the Mack Mid-Liner or Manager.
In 1978, PSA Group had bought Chrysler's European operations. Included in the deal were commercial vehicle operations in the UK and Spain, which at that time used the brand name Dodge. PSA however sold them on to RVI in 1983, having itself little interest in the commercial vehicle market. The newly acquired operations in the UK had their origins in the commercial vehicle branch of the Rootes Group which originally carried the brand names Karrier and Commer. Some of the models built there were continued in production for several years by RVI in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, who also kept the Dodge brand name for these models, albeit in combination with the Renault badge. In 1988 the company was subject to a Fire Brigades Union inquirey due to 8 Dodge fire engines involved in crashes. Until 1992 the UK division was known as Renault Truck Industries, after which it then took the international Renault V.I. name.
In Spain, however, where Renault already was recognized as a local automobile producer, the Dodge trucks, which originally had been developed by the manufacturer Barreiros Diesel, were rebadged as Renaults and soon after replaced by French-designed models.
In 1987, Renault Véhicules Industriels took over from its parent company Renault a 42% stake in the American manufacturer Mack Trucks which became a fully owned subsidiary of Renault Véhicules Industriels in 1990. In 1994, RVI purchased a 34% stake in the Czech bus manufacturer Karosa, increasing its ownership to a majority 51% in 1996 and 96% in 2000. In 1997 Renault V. I. entered into a cooperation agreement with the Finnish truck producer Sisu. In 2002 the company signed a deal with the Chinese company Dongfeng Motor to manufacture engines.
Renault Trucks took part in the FIA European Championship, running Renault Premium powered by 13-litre DXi13 engines. The Renault Trucks-MKR Technology team won in 2010.
Also, the former Uruguayan plant of cars owned by Nordex in Uruguay, made since 2004 the Renault Trucks models like Midlum series.
The Volvo Group invested about €2 billion to develop a new line of Renault Trucks vehicles (C, D, K, T) which were introduced through 2013 replacing the previous models
As part of Renault's restructuring following privatisation in 1996, the heavy vehicles operations of bus and truck were divested. In 1999, the Renault and Karosa bus and coach operations were split off from Renault Véhicules Industriels and merged with Fiat-Iveco's bus and coach operations to form the jointly owned subsidiary
Irisbus. In 2003, Irisbus became a full subsidiary of Iveco and the brand Renault on its products was replaced by the brand Irisbus.
On 2 January 2001, Renault V. I. (including Mack Trucks, but not Renault S. A.'s stake in Irisbus) was sold to Volvo, which renamed it Renault Trucks in 2002. As a result, the mother company Renault S. A. was Volvo's biggest shareholder, with a 20% stake, shares and voting rights, but the majority of this was sold in October 2010, leaving a 5.1% stake. In December 2012, Renault sold its remaining shares in Volvo.
The Renault Trucks Defense division is wholly owned by Renault Trucks and is based in Versailles, France. It trades on its 1975 acquisition of Berliet and claims to have over 30,000 vehicles in use around the world. Its status as the leading supplier to the French Army was put in jeopardy in 2010 when the government placed a $214m order to Italian competitor Iveco. In 2016, Volvo announced its intention of divesting Renault Trucks Defense, as part of the selling of its Government Sales division.
It manufactures a range of special vehicles aimed at the defense and security markets, including the Sherpa, VAB armoured personnel carrier, AMC armoured multirole carrier and Kerax ranges.
In 2006 Renault Trucks took over ACMAT, but the defence and security vehicle manufacturer retained its own name and identity.