The day Renault launched an Apple-branded car

You there who dream of, one day, acquiring a car with the Appleknow that the company already released one in the 90s, in partnership with the French Renault.

The initiative took place at a time when the Cupertino company was as lost as a dog on moving day, making random partnerships in a desperate attempt not to go bankrupt.

Discover the history of Renault Clio Applerecently rescued by the Portuguese website pplwarewith further research done by the iPhone Blog.

apple in trouble

In the mid-1990s, Apple was going through some pretty tough times.

It was more or less at the time that I started working with the Macintosh and what was most heard was the news that the company would be bought by some giant, or that it would go bankrupt soon.

At the time, Steve Jobs was just a memory in the company’s history and the product line was too varied: it had printers, cameras, assorted laptops, palmtops (actually THE FIRST palmtop, the Newton) and dozens of models of Macs.

To make matters worse, they even had the idea of ​​licensing macOS so that other companies could create Mac “clones” with other brands. A real mess.

And in this environment of chaos, someone in Spain thought it would be a good idea to launch a car with the apple mark. And they chose the most popular at the time: a Clio.

Renault Clio Apple

On October 11, 1996, the Apple Spain announced an unprecedented partnership with the automobile manufacturer Renault, to launch a version of the Clio S that bore the name and brand of the apple.

The first “Apple Car”, which never left Spain.

In the communiqué, the announcement of “a special series for young entrepreneurs🇧🇷 The commercial at the time focused on geeks already connected in chat rooms.

But what was so special and different about this model?


It was exactly the same Clio S that was already sold. However, this one was aimed directly at young people who were discovering the fantastic world of computers. This world, which at the time was dominated by the overwhelming success of Windows 95.

But there was a plus: whoever bought the Apple Clio got an apple laptop as a gift, the PowerBook 190 and another GSM cell phone to connect to the internet🇧🇷 At the time, that was quite a differentiator.

The PowerBook 190, running the “ultimately modern” System 7.5.

Apple Spain invested heavily in this partnership. Ads on TV and in dozens of magazines, some of them even bringing a hybrid CD (which ran on both Mac and Windows — yes, that was an obstacle at the time) with the campaign’s advertising pieces.

In the ad, the images of the laptop and the modern cell phone that came with the car. (Image: Mac4ever)

The outside of the car also had the Apple branding. Very small, almost a sticker placed after the car is ready, but still present.

On my car today the apple sticker is much bigger. (Image:

The Clio Apple featured sports seats in leather and fabric, a Philips cassette radio in the S model, a CD radio in the RSi model, which also had a driver airbag. The engine featured 1.4L and 75hp in the S model, and 1.8L and 110hp in the RSi model.

The so-called “500 megs” in the advertisement referred to the internal capacity of the PowerBook HD. It didn’t even fit the contents of an entire CD.

What happened to the Apple Clio

Well, if you’ve never heard of this Apple car before, you must have concluded that it didn’t last very long. In fact, it was never sold outside of Spain.

The car did not sell very well, as Apple was not a well-regarded brand at the time. It already had its staunch admirers, but not so many as to be a good commercial lode.

At the end of that year, 1996, Steve Jobs returned to Apple’s command with the almost impossible mission of putting the company in order and stop making losses. And one of his first acts was drastically reduce the product line.

No o Newton, which had enormous potential, escaped the cuts, and obviously the Clio Apple did not remain in the company’s plans. Incidentally, Jobs was completely against associating the Apple brand with other companies, so this type of idea had no place in the new management.

Today some rare units can still be found on Spanish streets or on used lists for collectors.

In 2005, a partnership similar to this one was made with Motorola, to launch a cell phone that ran iTunes. It didn’t work out and Apple decided to make its own cell phone, revolutionizing the market.

Could the same thing happen soon in the auto industry?

Only time will tell.

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