Company: OpenConnectCustomer: RenaultSubmitted by: BluegrassRenault’s IT infrastructure spans several continents attributing to the French carmaker’s worldwide presence. The company estimates that 30,000 end-users will connect to its information system from 2,500 dealerships in ten European countries.In 1997, Renault decided to interconnect its dealership network, subsidiaries and headquarters through the Internet. The selected solution was OC://WebConnect Pro from OpenConnect.

Goals of the project

In January 1997, an ambitious pilot project was launched to design, develop and deploy a new communications architecture between the Renault organization and its entire sales network.

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At each Renault dealership, there are two IT systems : the manufacturer’s Dealer Common System (DCS) and the seller’s Dealer Management System (DMS). The first one is used to communicate with Renault’s headquarters or local subsidiary, and the second for point of sale management.Western Europe was the first region defined to implement the first phase of the project. The new Web-based architecture took into account the explosive growth of the Internet, the subsequent widespread use of PCs as well as the extended use of IP networking by service providers worldwide.In addition to upgrading systems and reducing costs, the main goal was to provide better customer service by streamlining sales processes and improving impact on production and after-sales support.

Customer will eventually be able to order and obtain a customized car within 15 days.An economic concern led Renault to choose the Internet rather than a satellite link because the latter would have required installing a server at each of the 2,500 dealerships across Europe. In contrast, the selected solution only requires a PC with a Web browser installed.

Simple, secure, scalable

Today, 15,000 users from 1,100 dealerships access 3270 applications with OC://WebConnect Pro. Through Renault’s own portal, services such as email, file transfer, and newscasting are provided.

Developing New Services

The use of the Internet has helped develop new services for Renault.

The IP infrastructure was completed with a custom document publishing application and marketing information was made more accessible.For example, a dealer can now assess more accurately how often business customers tend to change their rented cars before contract terminations. More specific applications have also been developed in the UK. Drivers can now register their cars online since dealers now have access to both Renault’s internal system and the government Web site.


Capacity tests were conducted based on statistics showing that 2,500 to 3,000 client workstations were connected throughout France, one third of them being active. The OpenConnect solution therefore perfectly matched the capacity load.After passing performance test, OpenConnect demonstrated superior functional capabilities by proving to be more responsive to Renault’s specifications than competing products, especially for SNA printing sessions.

OpenConnect’s Response

Already Renault’s supplier of IP/SNA gateways, OpenConnect’s Web-to-Host solution was chosen among various vendors for the following reasons:

  • No specific software installations required on workstations since the host is accessed through a standard Web browser
  • Interface to client devices and mainframe systems is implemented on an intermediate server through a three-tier solution
  • Support for TN3287 print sessions
  • TN5250 emulation support
  • Encrypted transactions for security