Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance divides recovery work; Mitsubishi to lead in Southeast Asia – report


Leaders within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance are refreshing their strategy for the group of companies to recover from troubles faced recently, Automotive News Europe reported. The strategy will see the alliance divide their scope geographically, with each alliance member to drive operations in regions where they are the strongest, it said.

The four-member panel is comprised of Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault interim CEO Clotilde Delbos, Mitsubishi chairman Osamu Masuko and Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. This will see Renault lead the charge in Europe, Nissan to lead in China and Mitsubishi to lead the thrust in Southeast Asia, the report said. The alliance did not specify a point company for North America, though Nissan is the largest player of the alliance members in that market.

The companies will now also divide engineering work with a leader-follower approach, where one company leads research and development as well as product development in a given area, and the other companies send personnel to the lead company for assistance. This will differ from the previous approach where teams worked in tandem, according to the report.

The alliance will now be dividing its scope geographically by regions where each brand is strongest; Mitsubishi will be leading the charge in Southeast Asia.

Aspects of the engineering work to be newly divided up include the upper bodies of vehicles, as well as platforms and powertrains. Renault will also be given the lead role in the development of light commercial vehicles as part of the new redistribution of tasks.

“The auto industry is facing big transformations. We have discussed how to fully utilise the strength of each entity,” said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. The new strategy was agreed to by the Alliance Operating Board, a new steering committee launched in March last year following the arrest of former leader Carlos Ghosn in 2018.

The move to redirect the alliance comes as it struggles with dropping sales and profits, as well as to capitalise on the alliance’s promise of very large scale and combined resources, according to Automotive News Europe; combined global deliveries across the alliance’s brands fell 5.6% to 10.2 million units in 2019.

The Alliance Operating Board, or AOB created an alliance general secretary position last month for the coordination of major projects across the alliance’s three carmakers. This position has been given to Hadi Zablit, who had served as senior vice president of business development at the alliance since March 2018.

Projects led by Zablit included the development of the Common Module Family A (CMF-A) platform for small vehicles. In his role as alliance general secretary, Zablit is charged with boosting efficiency of joint operations across the companies in order to increase operating profits across the board, said Automotive News Europe.

Nissan is set to hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in February 18 to appoint Uchida and several other new directors to its board, and this gathering will also be where the Japanese automaker shares the latest details on its restructuring plans, the report added.

In addition to Uchida, in the running for the new director roles are Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta, executive V of manufacturing and supply chain management Hideyuki Sakamoto, as well as Renault nominee Pierre Fleuriot.

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