The first fruit of Nissan Motor Co.'s new modular development strategy aimed at cutting costs will be arriving at dealerships in November -- the redesigned Nissan Rogue. Over four years, the Rogue's engineers redesigned 84 component systems to make them common with systems employed by Renault SA, Nissan's alliance partner with the overall goal of standardizing parts for 1.5 million units across 14 models.
For instance, Nissan and Renault had different approaches for the headlamp control system. While Renault's light switch cycled through off-parking lights-on-auto, Nissan's lights cycled off-auto-parking lights-on. Renault's headlamp high beams were activated with a pull-pull motion while Nissan's high beams were activated with a push-pull motion. But both carmakers were able to compromise on a single approach by adopting Renault's light cycle and Nissan's high beams.
Toshiyuki Takahashi, Nissan's deputy general manager of strategic planning and point man for negotiating with Renault, told Automotive News in an interview that it was very difficult to "commonize," noting that only after very long discussion or arbitration between the carmakers were they able to find one solution. The same thing happened for the 83 other component systems.
The strategy was aimed at cutting purchasing costs by 20 to 30%, and at reducing investment in engineering by 30 to 40%. It also indicates the future of Nissan's global lineup -- a wider range of vehicles produced from a smaller kit of parts.
The strategy -- called as the Common Module Family, or CMF -- also seeks to create maximum economies of scale. When the first batch of CMF vehicle launches is complete in 2016, Renault-Nissan will build out 1.5 million mid-sized to large vehicles annually using the same stock of shared parts. [source: automotive news - sub. required]