Nissan Motor Co.'s global chief planning officer, Philippe Klein, has his mind focused on what vehicles will be designed, built and sold in the years ahead. His considerations yield Nissan's future products, as well as how they will be positioned with technology and powertrains. Klein, 59, spoke during the Paris auto show with News Editor Lindsay Chappell about how future vehicles will change the role of suppliers.
Q: As Nissan moves deeper into auto-nomous-drive vehicles, will it require changes in the way the company works with suppliers?
A: At this moment, we're seeing an evolution in the sort of talent and know-how we need, which means we are increasing the talents we have inside our company and buying some small tech companies to bring talent inside and to interact with our partners.
Nissan announced a major partnership with Microsoft as a supplier. Why not simply buy the needed technology from them?
This is an area that's too important to us. We want to have our own solutions. We want to offer our customers solutions that are branded. And to have solutions that are branded, you have to be in a close relationship with the supplier, or you get generic.
Will we see more supplier partnerships?
I can't say whether there will be more, but it's certainly important. The number of suppliers who can master what you need are limited. When you have a technology shift like we're seeing, you have to take your destiny in hand.