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Renault-Nissan jointly developing new vehicle program for growth markets; CMF-A for affordability

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 side by side from inception. The program, internally named CMF-A, covers the most affordable category of cars in the Common Module Family (CMF, earlier post), Renault-Nissan’s modular system of vehicle architecture. Development work on CMF-A began last year at the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, a Chennai, India-based engineering facility.

When describing the CMF earlier in June, the companies explained that CMF is not a platform; it can involve several platforms. A platform is a horizontal segmentation; a CMF is a cross-sector concept. At that announcement, the companies said that CMF will gradually be extended to Renault and Nissan ranges between 2013 and 2020. The first deployment of CMF—for the compact and large car segments—will cover 1.6 million vehicles per year and 14 models (11 Renault group + 3 Nissan).

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, India. 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. 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.

—Carlos Ghosn

When the Renault-Nissan Alliance formed in 1999, about 1% of total group sales came from the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2012, more than 30% of total group sales came from these four countries alone.

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 US$1 billion, or 45 billion INR 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 completely flexible. Efficiency is improved by having bumper and plastic moldings produced on site while the assembly line features a highly efficient logistics layout with a 100% 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.

Chennai is also home to the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, the engineering hub and an innovation incubator serving Renault-Nissan Alliance partners. RNTBCI employees focused on engineering, manufacturing and other integral processes for regional and global markets.

Renault has been on a strong growth curve in India. The company has launched five new cars in less than 18 months, including the Renault Duster, which has won a 29 independent vehicle awards.

Duster has accelerated Renault’s growth in India and helped 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 surged to more than 35,000 vehicles in 2012, up 25 times from 2011.

Nissan sold nearly 37,000 vehicles in 2012 and is accelerating aggressively. The company will launch 10 new vehicles in India through 2016 including new premium SUV Terrano later this year and the first Datsun car. (Earlier post.) Nissan expects to more than triple its current dealer network to more than 300 outlets by 2016.


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