Marc Suss has led Renault's Global Access Program since May 2015. He oversees the company's line of low-cost cars that are sold in Europe as Dacias and elsewhere as Renaults, as well as the Kwid (sold in India and Brazil) and Kaptur (sold in Russia, India and Brazil). Previously, he was program director for electric vehicles at Nissan, and served as chief vehicle engineer for the development of the Sandero and Logan models, and held other management positions in engineering at Renault. Suss spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Peter Sigal about the future of the program and how it will adapt to a changing automotive landscape.
What is the Global Access Program?
It is Renault Group’s line of affordable cars for worldwide sales. That means Dacia for Europe and North Africa, and we are also using the Global Access Program to grow the Renault Group outside of Europe in Brazil, India, Iran, Russia and South America. There are three families of cars: The Logan/Sandero, at the center; moving up in size with the Duster/Kaptur; and moving down a size, the Kwid.
What is Renault’s formula for making low-cost cars profitable?
The first point is to have very strong design-to-cost. Normally when you produce a car, product planning says what it needs, styling says what it wants, then you send this to engineering; engineering gives a quote to the supplier, and the supplier comes back with a price. Then you take it or you leave it. We don’t work like this. We get everybody in a room and say, we would like a component and we have 50 euros to make it. What should we do to get it? It’s another way of thinking. Costs are contained, making us customer-value centric. The second point is having global scale. We produce the current Duster in Romania, Russia, Colombia, Brazil and India. If you go to a supplier and say you want 100,000 parts a year, you get one price, but if you come and say you want 500,000 parts a year, it’s not the same price.
How did you create the Renault Kaptur, with a K, for sale outside of Europe?
We used the design of the European Captur — a true B-segment [subcompact] car — but we put it on the Duster platform to make it bigger, a C-segment [compact] car. The B-segment Captur (with a C) is successful in Europe, but it’s too small for India, Russia and South America.
What new vehicles will we see in the Global Access program?
We will have a larger SUV model in the Duster/Kaptur family, and in India we will launch more cars in the Kwid family.