Renault-Nissan vehicle platforms lift alliance savings

PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) - Renault and Nissan increased savings from their carmaking alliance by 6.7 percent last year, the companies said on Wednesday, as the first cars built on jointly developed vehicle architectures rolled off production lines.

Alliance savings rose to 2.87 billion euros ($3.91 billion) in 2013 from 2.69 billion a year earlier, the alliance said in a statement. Alliance Executive Vice President Christian Mardrus said it was targeting 3.5 billion of savings this year.

Savings from their 15-year-old partnership are “expected to accelerate”, the companies said, as Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn combines more operations in areas such as manufacturing, development, purchasing and human resources.

In January, Renault and its 43.4 percent-owned Japanese affiliate lifted their medium-term savings goal to 4.3 billion euros in 2016.

Squeezed by the rising costs of emissions regulations at home and tougher competition in emerging markets, where demand is slowing, carmakers are scrambling for economies of scale through mergers, alliances and ad-hoc production deals.

Renault-Nissan trails behind rivals such as Volkswagen and Toyota on platform scale - the number of vehicles assembled from a common architecture.

Production began at Nissan last year from the alliance’s first jointly developed mid-size car platform, CMF. Renault is due to launch its first CMF-based vehicle next year, a replacement for the ageing Espace minivan. ($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Editing by James Regan)