PARIS - Renault will cut order-to-delivery times from six to eight weeks to two weeks under a new Europe-wide distribution system scheduled to be fully in place by the end of next year.
Renault says the new system will reduce inventory and distribution costs by $160 million annually.
'Renault intends to make the delivery time a competitive weapon on the same level as the quality and the prices of its vehicles,' a spokesman said.
Called Projet Nouvelle Distribution, the new system is currently being adopted by dealers in the Netherlands - where the plan was piloted - and will be in place in France and UK around the end of November. It will roll out through a total of 16 countries in western, central and eastern Europe over the following 12 months.
Starting in mid-2000 to late 2001, dealers and plants will gradually reduce delivery time, with two weeks as the final goal in main markets and a little longer in eastern Europe.
'In late 2001 Renault will possess all the tools necessary to meet an average time frame of two weeks between ordering a vehicle and taking delivery,' the company said. 'Half of this time will be for production and half for transportation and preparation of the vehicle.'
It will take about six months for a country to shift to Projet Nouvelle by modifying network management, adapting computer systems, reducing inventories, absorbing orders and training personnel, according to company estimates.
Projet Nouvelle was initiated early in 1998 with pilot experiments involving the Renault sales subsidiary in Holland, the Rouen, France, dealership site, and the Maubeuge, France, plant where production of the Express commercial vehicle and later the Kangoo range was used to test the factory end of the scheme.
A training program is now under way throughout Renault's European network, involving some 28,000 people including 2,500 dealers.