Ghosn: High-volume architectures to underpin 3 million units apiece

Renault-Nissan's platform plan

Ghosn: High-volume architectures to underpin 3 million units apiece

"We are going to be really leveraging better than most of our competitors in size and scale." -- Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan
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TOKYO -- Carlos Ghosn says the Renault-Nissan Alliance he heads will roll out two shared vehicle platforms, each of which will underpin more than 3 million vehicles, by 2016 as part of a cost-cutting plan.

It's common for an automaker to build multiple vehicles and derivatives off one platform. But Ghosn's plan is ambitious. He estimates that by 2016 the entire industry will have only five platforms supporting vehicle populations that large.

"We are going to be really leveraging better than most of our competitors in size and scale," Ghosn told Automotive News. "If you have the right strategy and product, size matters. Size will really protect you from your competition."

The rollout of the first so-called Common Module Family platform covers C/D-segment sedans, crossovers and SUVs, including the Rogue. By 2020, about 75 percent of the alliance's total vehicle output will ride on four platforms.

Sharing platforms is one way the two companies aim to attain 4.3 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in annual savings by 2016. That's up from an earlier target of $5.4 billion and from realized savings of $3.78 billion in 2013.

To get there, the two automakers also will step up joint operations in manufacturing, logistics, r&d, purchasing and human resources.

The alliance struggled for its first decade to realize significant savings. The companies joined forces in 1999, when Renault N.A. came to the rescue of then-ailing Nissan Motor Co. But by 2009, they saw annual savings of $2.02 billion. The tally has climbed steadily since.

Ghosn has said a deliberate approach was necessary to ensure lasting teamwork -- and to avoid a takeover mentality of the kind that undid the DaimlerChrysler AG merger.

"After 15 years of working together, we are capable today of envisioning things that were practically impossible to execute five years ago," Ghosn said. "People would have spent their time resisting and explaining why they cannot do it, instead of making it happen."

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com. -- Follow Hans on Twitter


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