Tuesday, October 4, 2016


As mentioned in the previous post, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is on to a winner with its Common Module Family (CMF) architecture, from which it can develop a variety of vehicles. The CMF platform enables the RNA to build small and medium cars, SUVs and other specialty vehicles by switching various components of the CMF. 

Here's a graphic which illustrates the concept:
The overall concept is not so different to the modular approach used by companies like Volkswagen AG, as it shares modules across its Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen ranges. Even in the luxe sector, Jaguar uses modular architecture in its XE, XF and F-Pace models.

While the sheet metal involved in subframes, and inner panel sharing is vital to the efficiency of using modular platform architecture, probably the real benefits are in something that earlier car developers never even thought of - the electronic architecture.

This has now become the most important element in product sharing programs, because today electronics play such a huge role in vehicle operations, reliability and servicing.

However, according to the Alliance another big winner is the customer. As it shaves development costs it allows the companies to increase and innovate new content in the cars, while helping to keep retail prices stable.

Of course there's always room for margin improvement (the bean counters will see to that), but the whole program does have the effect of making the Alliance stronger and more profitable. Really, though, what it does help, is to keep the Alliance competitive - especially against bigger, wealthier competitors.

As of this year, more than 1.7 million different vehicles in the Alliance's catalogue will be built using CMF. By 2020 more than 70% of Alliance vehicles will use CMF. According to the Alliance, CMF will reduce purchasing costs by 30% and cut 40% from overall engineering expenditure.

A major opportunity also exists for the Renault-Nissan Alliance to 'export' the concept beyond its own vehicles, and that's where CMF could be attractive, even to a giant like Mercedes-Benz - which at present does not widely utilize modular architecture.

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