DETROIT - Renault SA will begin selecting suppliers next month for its upper-range mid-sized platform, known in Europe as a D-sized platform. It plans to complete sourcing by year end. The platform will be the underpinnings for future versions of the Renault Laguna and the Nissan Primera, sold in Europe, and the Nissan Altima, sold in the North America.
Christian Hue de la Colombe, vice president of vehicle parts purchasing for Renault, would not disclose cost-saving goals for the program, information he will give to the Renault corporate board this month. But he did indicate at least two requirements of potential Tier 1 suppliers: strong project management capability and use of high-quality Tier 2 suppliers.
"There are a lot of difficulties in project management today," Colombe said. "Suppliers have asked for more responsibility, so we have given suppliers more responsibility.
"But at the same time, what we have seen when they have launched a lot of new programs, they were far behind expectations and failed to deliver, and that created a lot of losses because launching costs were much higher, engineering costs were much higher than expected."
Colombe spoke March 4, during a panel discussion sponsored by the French American Automotive Business Association, which coincided with the SAE World Congress here.
"A lot of our quality problems now come from Tier 2 suppliers," Colombe said. "There are a lot of problems of nonconformity to specifications, a lot of production problems with not enough quality control. We are making a lot of effort to work with our Tier 1 suppliers. At the same time, we'll have to be more intrusive with our Tier 2 suppliers, especially in the startup of the production."
Renault will allow alliances of suppliers to bid for the platform business and allow them to split the business regionally between Europe, Japan and the United States.
"One of the issues is the globalization of the suppliers," Colombe said. "In some areas, suppliers are really global and have engineering facilities in the different regions - engineering capabilities are very important to us. At the same time, lots of suppliers don't have these capabilities."