The Renault Juvaquatre is a small family car/compact car automobile produced by the French manufacturer Renault between 1937 and 1960, although production stopped or slowed to a trickle during the war years. The Juvaquatre was produced as a sedan/saloon until 1948 when the plant switched its full attention to the new Renault 4CV. During the second half of 1952 the plant restarted production of the Juvaquatre sedans/saloons for a period of approximately five months.
In 1948 a Juvaquatre based panel van appeared and two years later a van based station wagon body joined the range; later models of the station wagon (from 1956 on) were known as the Renault Dauphinoise. The sedan/saloon found itself overshadowed and massively outsold after the appearance in 1946 of the Renault 4CV (which was France's top selling car in the post-war years). However, both the 4CV and its successor, the Renault Dauphine, were rear engined and unsuitable for simple station wagon adaptation, which is why the Juvaquatre "Dauphinoise" station wagon remained in production until effectively replaced by the Renault 4 in 1960.
The Juvaquatre was originally conceived in 1936 by Louis Renault as a small, affordable car designed to fit in the Renault range below the existing more upmarket models such as the Primaquatre or Celtaquatre. The company was focused on creating new customers who would not otherwise buy Renaults, and on appealing to the new class of lower-income consumer created by changing labor conditions and the rise of the Popular Front in France in the 1930s (which ironically had adversely affected Renault considerably). The Juvaquatre was heavily inspired by the German Opel Olympia, a car which Louis Renault had been impressed by during a 1935 visit to Berlin (consequently the Juvaquatre, particularly early models, bore a strong resemblance to the Olympia). The Juvaquatre was showcased at the 1937 Paris Motor Show and the 2-door sedan/saloon went on sale the following year. A van version was developed soon afterwards for commercial usage and was used extensively by La Poste, while public demand for four-door cars (and the introduction of affordable 4-door models from French rivals Peugeot and Simca) resulted in a 4-door Juvaquatre in 1939. A station wagon model based on the van was launched only in 1950.
During the war
The rate of Juvaquatre production decreased considerably with the onset of World War II, but remained high compared to other European marques who had switched over almost entirely to production of military equipment. After France was taken over by Nazi Germany, Juvaquatre production slowed to a trickle, with only a few hundred cars built 1941. This is the end of official production (until after the war) but a very small series was still turned out until 1942, and in 1943, 1944, and 1945, the occasional car was assembled for the occupation forces or for French government use.
After the war
Juvaquatre production formally restarted in 1946, with Renault now owned and controlled by the French government. However, at Renault's Billancourt plant the emphasis was now on massive investment in tooling for mass production of the new 4CV, soon to become France's top selling car, and at this location production of the Juvaquatre stopped at the end of 1948. The final saloon/sedan bodied cars were produced at the manufacturer's new plant at Flins where the Juvaquatre was the first model to be assembled. Production of the Juvaquatre saloon at Flins finally ended in November 1952.
The "Break Juva 4" (station wagon) remained in production, between 1950 and 1953 retaining the dashboard and side-valve 1,003 cc engine (albeit now enhanced by an air filter) of the prewar cars. For the second half of the decade the old station wagon was rebranded as the Renault Dauphinoise, continuing to be listed until 1960, and in its final years sharing its engine with the Renault Dauphine.