Speaking to media representatives in Yokohama, Japan, Nissan Senior Vice President Yasuhiro Yamauchi has indicated that the OEM plans to accelerate its programme of parts commonality across different models.
According to a Reuters report, Yamauchi said Nissan plans to produce 60% of vehicles under its so-called Common Module Family (CMF) engineering concept in 2016, up from 12% in 2013 when the first series of cars under the plan will be launched.
To reap the cost savings from the plan but in order to avoid potentially expensive expensive recalls, Nissan said it was taking steps to avoid quality problems and supply chain glitches. Hiroto Saikawa, Executive Vice President of Nissan was quoted as saying: “Our basic strategy is to avoid concentration of parts production at a single location, as well as by a single supplier.”
Under the CMF, Nissan aims to double the use of common parts in its next generation cars to 80%.
Nissan outlined details of the next-generation CMF vehicle engineering concept in late-February 2012, the OEM saying it developed CMF as part of efforts to cut costs and improve competitiveness. The system combines modular engineering with Nissan’s own engineering technologies in areas such as simulation and variation engineering (a way to enhance commonisation).
The application of Nissan CMF entails the use of four modules – engine compartment, cockpit, front underbody and rear underbody – as well as the architecture for electronic components, with each module having appropriate variations. Vehicles are designed by combining these modules in different ways. Depending on the module configuration, a range of vehicle types (compacts, large-sized vehicles, tall SUVs, etc) can be efficiently designed.
Nissan noted at the time that the launch of CMF would, among other things, facilitate the simultaneous application of new technologies across several models that previously had been clustered in higher-end segments.
Reuters, citing unnamed sources, has also reported that Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer, Carlos Ghosn, stated at a recent internal meeting that the Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to step up cooperation and double annual savings from the partnership to €4bn (US$5.2bn) in 2016. An alliance executive was quoted as saying: “Ghosn said we need to seek further synergies to get to double where we are today.”
The sources also suggested that to meet the new goal, the OEMs would centralise more activities under their joint holding company, Renault-Nissan BV, a Dutch-registered venture which already runs some purchasing and logistics operations for both companies. Expansion into new markets such as Russia and a broadening of its remit in back-office functions such as information services, were also reported to be on the joint venture’s agenda.
Renault and Nissan are also said to be reviewing the cross shareholdings underpinning their 13-year-old alliance, with discussions said to be at a preliminary stage. Renault currently holds a 43.4% stake Nissan while the Japanese OEM in turn owns 15% of Renault.