Renault's new, fourth-generation Espace cost E656 million to develop - but it would have needed an investment of around E1.5 billion if it had been a stand-alone project.
The Espace shares a platform with the Vel Satis and Laguna and uses established engines and gearboxes.
"The Espace shows how to take all the benefits and none of the downsides of commonization," said Jean-Michel Pignoly, UK brand manager for the Espace, Vel Satis and Laguna. "While saving in the region of 150 percent of stand-alone cost by means of platform and engine sharing, we have been able to create a new vehicle that appears to bear little relationship to the other models."
The Espace, Vel Satis and Laguna are all built on a flexi-line at Renault's Sandouville plant, near Le Havre, France.
Though the top gasoline engine in the Espace, the 3.5-liter V-6, is of Nissan origin, there was no Nissan input into the general design of Renault's full-size minivan. Espace development took place before the alliance between the two carmakers was formed.
But Pignoly said: "Obviously future projects will look for synergies without damaging brand identities."