PARIS - Renault has restructured its engineering division in an effort to cut lead times by a third. It also wants to accelerate the launch of new models in territories outside France.
Renault has appointed four powerful vehicle platform managers as part of the new program. They will report directly to Carlos Ghosn, executive vice president in charge of engineering, manufacturing and purchasing.
'We want better productivity and efficiency in our engineering departments,' said Ghosn. The workload is growing, and the engineering and manufacturing system needs to be international, he added.
The platform managers are: Yves Dubreil, upper range cars (Laguna, Safrane, Espace); Jean-Francois Simon, medium range cars (Megane range); Michel Faivre-Duboz, small cars (Clio, Twingo); and Alain Cabanes, special vehicles, including electric and hybrids.
Renault is moving toward a comprehensive platform strategy. The next-generation Laguna, Safrane and Espace will share a platform.
Ghosn wants to cut development time to 24 months. Current projects aim at 36 months. He also wants global plants to start on new models within three months of each other.
'We launched the Clio 2 in March in western Europe, but the Clio 1 is still being made today in Argentina,' he said. The Clio 2 will not be launched in South America until late 1999 or early 2000.
Renault's engineering operations have been split into two. One new division, headed by Jacques Lacambre, will be responsible for research, advanced projects and materials engineering. Lacambre was previously director of advanced projects.
The division will also include a customer benefits section that will make sure any new model maintains an individual Renault identity. It will employ about 1,500.
A separate vehicle engineering division will be responsible for developing new cars and manufacturing processes. Headed by former director of chassis engineering Patrick Pelata, it will employ about 4,500.
A unit has also been created to design and implement manufacturing strategy worldwide for Renault and suppliers.
The new divisions will be located at Renault's new technical center in Guyancourt.