PARIS - Renault plans to sharply increase its use of component modules on vehicles to be introduced within two or three years, according to purchasing director Jean-Baptiste Duzan.
Some modules will be assembled by suppliers operating inside Renault factories and others will be assembled in new supplier parks adjacent to assembly plants, said Duzan in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
The shift in strategy will start with the introduction of a large-car platform at Renault's Sandouville plant. The new platform will be used for the Laguna, Safrane and Espace replacements. Company sources say the first model to be produced on the new platform, the X74 Laguna replacement, is expected to start production in 2000, followed by the X73 Safrane in 2001.
Other plants will follow at their model changeovers, said Duzan.
Renault has not used externally-sourced modules extensively in the past and does not currently have any supplier parks next to its plants. One of the few major integrated modules is Plastic Omnium's assembly of cockpits for the Clio within Renault's Flins factory.
Some modules will be assembled in external supplier parks. But the reorganization of production lines for new models will also free space for suppliers within the plants, said Duzan.
Initially there will be six or seven modules from suppliers per plant. Modules are likely to include front-ends, cockpits, doors, and overhead modules. Corner modules and some exhaust system assembly will be sourced internally.
Duzan said Renault already has one of the highest percentages of outsourcing among European mass carmakers, reaching 73 percent on the Clio. Renault also wants its suppliers to do more development work. But that does not mean that Renault cars will lose their character, said Duzan.
'The identity of the car comes from the concepts, and these are very pure Renault,' said Duzan. 'The Scenic is a Renault concept - whatever modules we put in it.'