Renault’s Type AG, the very first Parisian taxi, would go down in history for its role in carrying troops to the Marne during the First World War.
Renault, the taxi market leader
The Type AG was designed with simplicity and robustness uppermost in mind, two qualities that would prove instrumental in bringing Renault the very first contract for taxi service in Paris from Société des automobiles de place. They are still referred to as “fiacre” carriages to this day. By 1905, there were 250 Type AG taxis on the streets of the French capital, rising to 1,000 in 1906 then to 1,500 two years later.
Taxi service provided valuable exposure for the Renault name and even brought recognition beyond France: in 1907 Renault sold 1,100 units in London.
Type AG, the taxi of World War I
But these taxis are best known for their historical role in carrying troops to the front in 1914, to stem the invading German army’s march on Paris. Paris taxis were requisitioned, and 1,300 Parisian taxis would carry 6,000 soldiers to win the Battle of the Marne. Thereafter, the Type AG would be known as the “Taxi de la Marne”. Louis Renault contributed greatly to the French war effort, most notably with the development of the FT-17, the first light tank.