(Removes typo in fourth paragraph)
PARIS, June 19 French carmaker Renault
has pledged to slash the cost of developing future models by
30-40 percent as it rolls out a new generation of vehicle
architectures with alliance partner Nissan.
Parts costs will ultimately fall by 20-30 percent for models
based on the shared "CMF" technology as production begins later
this year, Renault engineering and quality chief Jean-Michel
Billig also said on Wednesday.
"This is a new step for the alliance," Billig said during a
briefing at Renault headquarters in the Paris suburb of
Mid-sized carmakers like Renault and its 43.4 percent-owned
Japanese affiliate are struggling to compete with the economies
of scale commanded by auto giants like Volkswagen.
That arrival of so-called "modular" vehicle platforms threatens
to widen their advantage, pressuring rivals quickly to follow
Modular industrial designs allow cars to be launched in a
broader range of sizes, shapes and price brackets from common
sets of parts. That lowers development costs for each new model
and generates bigger orders for suppliers, driving down
CMF, which stands for "common module family", is
Renault-Nissan's answer to the MQB modular system introduced
with Volkswagen's latest Golf and Audi A3 compacts.
Nissan will begin assembling the first CMF-based vehicles
later this year to replace its Qashqai, X-Trail and Rogue
models. Renault follows suit in 2014 with an updated Espace
people-carrier, followed by successors to the Laguna midsize car
and Scenic minivan.
A common architecture developed in India for low-cost small
cars will be ready for 2015, Billig also said - joined the
following year by a new blueprint for subcompacts such as the
Renault Clio and Nissan Micra.
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; editing by Patrick Graham)