Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi have reaffirmed their commitment to their automotive Alliance, with the adoption of a new business model that will involve a massive increase in platform, technology and production sharing.
The future of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance had been in doubt after the arrest in Japan of former chairman Carlos Ghosn, the driving force behind the initiative. But after agreeing to maintain the Alliance in January, the three firms have now agreed a new deal.
Alliance chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said the new deal will greatly enhance the cooperation between the three firms and claimed that it will cut the costs of developing new models by up to 40%.
The Alliance members have agreed a new ‘leader-follower’ scheme that they say will greatly enhance efficiency through a substantial increase in shared production and development. Each will become the lead ‘reference’ brand in key regions and of key technologies.
Under the new deal, Renault will become the lead brand in Europe and will spearhead development of the next-generation B-segment SUV. Nissan will become the lead firm in Japan, North America and China and will develop the next-generation Nissan Qashqai-based C-segment SUV, which is due in 2025.
The new deal goes beyond platform sharing and will include the “upper bodies” of vehicles, with the production of models grouped together where possible. As recently reported, that is likely to involve Renault SUVs being built at the Nissan plant in Sunderland in the future.
“We will focus on efficiency and competitiveness, rather than volume,” said Senard. “The new framework will allow each Alliance member to enhance its core capabilities and benefit from the capabilities of the other firms. The aim is to increase the profitability and competitiveness.
“The leader-follow model isn't about being a leader against each other; it’s about each Alliance firm becoming a leader in the automotive industry.”
Senard insisted that the new agreement showcased the strength of the Alliance. He added: “There is no doubt about how this scheme will work in the future. If there have been doubts in the market, there are no doubts today.”
Renault to lead Alliance focus in Europe
Under the new agreement, each of the three firms will focus on key regions based on their existing market reach, with Renault taking the lead in Europe along with Russia, South America and North Africa.
While Renault will be the lead brand in Europe, both Nissan and Mitsubishi can continue to offer models in each region, although they will likely focus on market segments where they're strong. Nissan is set to outline more details of its future European strategy in a press conference tomorrow (Thursday 28 May).
In Europe, the Alliance’s leader-follower scheme will be focused around four product areas: B-segment cars (the Renault Clio and Zoe EV, Nissan Leaf and forthcoming Ariya EV SUV), B-SUVs (Renault Captur, Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster), C-SUVs (Renault Kadjar, Nissan Qashqai, next-gen SUV) and light commercial vehicles (vans).
During the presentation on the new agreement, the Alliance members gave no indication of future plans for model lines outside of those areas. There have been reports that Renault is set to close a number of factories and axe several product lines; more information on those reports is likely to come when the French firm holds its own press conference on Friday 29 May.