“Rafale” is no longer just a fighter, but also an automobile

Dassault fighter aircraft was named in the 1980s with the term meaning “gust of wind” in French. Renault automaker announced that it will call new SUV coupe also as Rafale

Unveiled in the early 1980s, the Rafale fighter broke with Dassault’s tradition of calling the lineage of fighter aircraft “Mirage”. The manufacturer’s most advanced supersonic jet, the Rafale has been in service since 2001 and means “gust of wind” in French.

Since then, the denomination has been enough to refer to Dassault. But the “exclusivity” is over and, who would have thought, by a car manufacturer.

Renault announced this week that its new full-size sport utility coupe will also be called the “Rafale”.

The concurrent use of one name in the aviation and automobile industry is not new. This happened, for example, when Ford named its iconic North American sports car Mustang, a name associated with the famous P-51 fighter, which fought in World War II.

Rafale (Dassault)

BBut the surprise is that “Rafale” was first used in an aircraft that belonged to Renault. And the automaker went further by claiming that it has the rights to the name “Rafale” since 1936.

According to the company, its founder, Louis Renault, was an aviation lover and therefore acquired the manufacturer Caudron in 1933. “He then created Caudron Renault, and renamed all of Caudron’s aircraft using wind-related terms: the C460 therefore became Rafale (French for ‘gust ‘) in 1934, the C500 became Simoun (‘simoon’, a desert wind), the C640 became Typhon (‘typhoon’) and the C714 Cyclone”, explained Renault.

The Caudron C460 “Rafale” (Renault)

Therefore, the first Rafale in history was indeed a plane, but the Caudron Renault C460, a racing single-seater. “It was designed to break records and just a handful were produced, which could have consigned the aircraft to oblivion. But the stylistic daring of the aircraft’s cutting-edge aerodynamics and its extraordinary performances left their mark on aviation history, making the model a legend”, says Renault.

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Now, however, the Renault Rafale will be a much more well-behaved product than the Caudron single engine and especially the Dassault fighter. The vehicle must be one of the most exclusive models of the brand, with a style that mixes the size of the so-called SUVs with the sportiness of the coupes.

Ironically, the Renault Rafale will not make its world debut at a motor show, but at the Paris Air Show, which takes place at Le Bourget Airport from 18 June.

Renault will unveil its Rafale at the Paris Air Show in June (Renault)


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