History

More than a century of know-how

  • 1889

    Creation

    It all started when the wheelwright René Godais moved to Laval in 1889 with a team of five companions...

    Manufacturer and repairer of carts, he quickly became a specialist in dogcarts thanks to powerful equipment purchased during the Great Universal Exhibition of 1900.

    Led by his son, also named Rene, Le Godais establishments manufactured more than 10,000 units.

    Gruau en 1889
  • 1933

    Birth of a coachbuilder with Marius Gruau

    Having figured out that the contemporary manufacturers were not meeting the needs of their customers, Marius Gruau, joined the company in 1929, and decided to begin offering body conversions and in-vehicle equipment.

    Founded in 1933, the Gruau coachbuilder designs and converts bodies of passenger cars but also vans, buses, trucks, semi-trailers and cattle trucks.

    Winning a major tender of 250 buses for the air force, Gruau moved from craftsmanship to industrial dimensions...

    Gruau en 1933
  • 1955

    On the way to industrialisation

    Having won a major order of 250 buses for the air force, Gruau definitely moved in 1955 from craftmanship to industrial dimensions.

    Rene Gruau, the son of Marius, created the design office required to compete in this key market.

    Gruau en 1955
  • 1977

    The adventure continues with Rene Gruau

    Gaining export success, the company moved from the Rue de Lemercier de Neuville to Rue du Ponceau in Laval.

    The reputation of Gruau then extended to the western half of France and the regional general coachbuilders, primarily through working with two manufacturers: Citroën and Saviem-Berliet.

    Rene Gruau strengthened the industrial expansion of the plant in Saint Berthevin (1969). He gradually focused on LCVs and developed partnerships with manufacturers.

    Gruau en 1977
  • 1985

    Project Management launched by Patrick Gruau

    Patrick Gruau joined the company in 1980, with the aim to win new customers in the eastern half of France. He took over the business in 1985 after the premature death of his father, René.

    As early as 1988, he set up a total quality management system and the first corporate project. In 1983 Gruau became the first European coachbuilder certified ISO.

    With his close team, Patrick Gruau launched, on the basis of a strategic project, acquisitions with Gruau Paris (1987) and Gruau Saint-Etienne (1991). The specialization in LCVs is confirmed. Gruau created the first network of distributors in France of LCV conversion kits and further expanded its partnerships with leading manufacturers.

    Gruau en 1985
  • 1995

    The company becomes a Group

    After 10 years of investment in Quality and ISO certifications, Gruau was awarded the French award of quality.

    In the same year, Gruau realised new acquisitions with Isberg and Picot, thus insuring its status as a Group.

    Gruau en 1995
  • 1996 - 2000

    The first European converter in LCVs

    Manufacturers began to change their products and Gruau renewed 95% of its range during this period.

    Gruau became recognized as a key player in each of its key fields : passenger transport, transport of goods, construction transport, company cars, custom vehicles and OEM products.

    Thanks to the success of its traditional range in France, the Gruau group decided to expand internationally as a UV multi-specialist and reinforced its manufacturers' product business with the implementation of the high volume Kangoo at Gruau Laval (1996) and the creation of Gruau Lorraine (1998) for the development of the Renault Minibus.

    Gruau de 1996 à 2000
  • 2001

    First steps abroad

    Gruau Ambulance business strengthened by acquiring the companies Petit (Tours) and Sanicar (Grenoble), creating its Ambulance division, gaining the number 2 position in France, with 3 specialized brands.

    The growing polish market is targeted with the creation of Gruau Polska, the first foreign expansion of the Group.

    Gruau therefore certifies its first Polish range and expanding its business by helping European manufacturers in Poland.

    A new activity is created with the birth of a new solution for urban transport: Gruau Microbus.

    Gruau en 2001
  • 2002

    Gruau's strategy in motion in all areas

    In its core business, the group was already present on the market of High Volume Vans under its own Gruau brand. In 2002, Gruau decided to develop this activity and to acquire the French leader Labbé.

    Gruau en 2002
  • 2003

    Development of the OEM business (manufacturers' products)

    The second foreign plant was created in 2003 with the opening of Gruau Iberica in Barcelona (Esparraguera). The OEM activities and the internationalization projects thus met, as the plant was established thanks to a new OEM project for Recreational Vehicles based on the Renault Trafic Generation.

    Gruau en 2003
  • 2004

    Gruau becomes a manufacturer

    Gruau delivered its first urban transport solution: Microbus.

    Offered in three versions:

    - The thermal diesel compatible version 30% di-ester.

    - The Stars Valeo version, with alternated starter.

    - Electric version.

    Gruau en 2004
  • 2005

    Gruau's creates the first European distributor network for Custom Kits (CKD) for LCV conversions

    Gruau strengthened its customer proximity and doubled its dealer network with:

    - 125 service points in Europe.

    - The 1st European distribution network of LCV kits

    Gruau en 2005
  • 2007 - 2008

    New markets

    Gruau Laval won a tender for a Van roof extension solution and completely reconfigured their Gruau Laval site with an automated production line.

    Gruau and Bolloré Group create a joint venture to develop the electric Microbus.

    Gruau en 2007
  • 2011

    Launch of our company project 2015 and creation of the brand "Gruau Electric"

    All employees involved in the Gruau group's 5th company project.

    With the experience gained in electric vehicles, Gruau decided to create their brand "Gruau Electric" and launched a 3.5T van 100% electric named ELECTRON, suitable for our entire range of vehicle conversions: refrigerated transport, passenger transport, tippers, funeral cars...

    The Group took the direction of international development for new markets, particularly in Europe.

    A new business was born in Gruau Le Mans: Gruau Vans.

    Gruau en 2010
  • 2012

    A new organization

    To meet its global strategy, the Group divided its organization in to two major business areas:

    - Urban mobility division (Gruau Laval, Gruau Le Mans, Gruau Paris, Labbé, Gruau Algeria, Gruau Lorraine, Gruau Iberica, Gruau Electric)

    - Medical vehicles division (Petit-Picot, Sanicar, Ducarme)

    Gruau en 2012
  • 2013

    Ongoing growth

    In February 2013, a new external growth took place : Gruau acquired Lanér, which later became Gruau Lyon, and thus consolidated its position in the Rhône-Alpes. This operation was part of its business plan, PROJECT 2015, simultaneously including one of the strategic pillars to consolidate its traditional activities in France, and in addition to the international expansion and Electric Vehicle strategies.

    In May, the Gruau group consolidated its position as a European leader by winning 2 out of 3 of the UGAP (Interior Ministry) tender. By winning close to 70% of the business, the Gruau Group affirms once again its leadership in the market for Converter-Manufacturer.

    Gruau en 2012
  • Today and tomorrow...

    The adventure goes on !

    In a changing environment, Patrick Gruau and his management team based their strategic decisions on a medium and long-term controlled growth and a workforce ever ready to innovate, men and women inspired by a project that combines rigor with a strong human touch.

    Gruau en 2012
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