Nissan CEO and chairman Carlos Ghosn confirmed that the Renault-Nissan Alliance is developing all-new vehicles to meet the specific demands of new car buyers in the world’s fastest growing economies.
The announcement marks the first all-new program developed from the ground up by Renault SAS and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd teams working together from inception. The program, internally named CMF-A, covers the most affordable category of cars in the Common Module Family, Renault-Nissan’s unique, modular system of vehicle architecture. The CMF approach defines vehicles as five essential modules: the engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical/electronic architecture. The compatible parts can then be assembled into hundreds of possible configurations, for maximum efficiency and brand differentiation. Production of vehicles within the CMF-A scope will begin in 2015 at the Renault-Nissan Alliance plant in Chennai. Renault and Nissan will reveal additional details, including pricing details and product volume, closer to the start of production.
Like all CMF categories, CMF-A offers a high degree of flexibility. Significant body style and powertrain variations can be matched to specific customer needs and preferences in India and other high-growth markets. “We are breaking new ground with CMF-A to meet and exceed the high standards of consumers in the world’s fastest growing economies – particularly people buying a new car for the first time,” Ghosn said at Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, the Chennai-based engineering facility where development work on CMF-A began last year. “These influential consumers don’t want a de-contented car originally intended for consumers in mature markets. They want and deserve a car that is modern, robust and stylish – at a price point that represents a ‘cost breakthrough’ for such a generous vehicle.”
Renault-Nissan is banking on emerging economies. When the Renault-Nissan Alliance was formed in 1999, about one percent of total group sales came from the BRIC countries. In 2012, more than 30 percent of total group sales came from these four countries alone. India is now slowly taking prominence in the Alliance’s plans. Chennai is home to the largest dedicated Renault-Nissan Alliance plant, which opened in 2010. The factory, which produces the Renault Pulse, Scala and Duster, and the Nissan Micra, Sunny and Evalia, represents an investment of about $1 billion (Rs 5,969 crore) from 2008 to 2015. The existing plant – which has full stamping, body, paint, plastic, trim and chassis shops with two test tracks—currently has annual production capacity of 400,000 vehicles per year.
The plant can produce four separate platforms and eight body styles in random production order. Both sub-assembly and parts supply to the line are totally flexible. Efficiency is improved by having bumper and plastic mouldings produced on site while the assembly line boasts a highly efficient logistics layout with a 100 percent kit supply system to the lineside which saves operators having to pick parts from more than one place reducing the need to walk to collect parts.
The Chennai plant taps the industry-leading ‘monozukuri’ production processes Nissan developed in its Oppama, Japan and Sunderland, UK facilities. Renault brings expertise concentrated on vehicle engineering, information systems, styling and powertrain development – including development of the industry’s benchmark clean-diesel K9K engine. Chennai is also home to the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, the engineering hub and an innovation incubator serving Renault-Nissan Alliance partners. Renault has, in less than 18 months, launched five new cars including the popular Duster SUV. The Duster has helped accelerate Renault’s growth in India and place it well ahead of the company’s mid-term plan for the region. Renault already has more than 100 dealerships throughout India, compared to an original forecast of 70 by the end of 2013. Sales grew to over 35,000 vehicles in 2012, up 25 times from 2011.
Nissan sold nearly 37,000 vehicles in 2012 and will launch 10 new vehicles in India through 2016 including the new premium SUV Terrano later this year and the first Datsun car. Nissan expects to more than triple its current dealer network to more than 300 outlets by 2016
The plant can produce four separate platforms and eight body styles in random production order.
The Chennai plant taps the industry-leading ‘monozukuri’ production processes Nissan developed in its Oppama, Japan and Sunderland, UK facilities. Renault brings expertise concentrated on vehicle engineering, information systems, styling and powertrain development – including development of the industry benchmark clean-diesel K9K engine. Chennai is also home to the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, the engineering hub and an innovation incubator serving Renault-Nissan Alliance partners.