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Automotive Intelligence News

News of October 30, 2002


 


Launching production of the X83 compact van at Nissan's Barcelona plant, Renault and Nissan start first cross-manufacturing project in Europe

Renault and Nissan started production of the X83 compact van at Nissan's Barcelona plant at the end of September 2002. Jointly developed by Renault and General Motors Europe this vehicle is marketed under the names Renault Trafic - Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro - Nissan Primastar. 

With joint investment of €240 million, this first Renault-Nissan Alliance cross-manufacturing venture in Europe is part of a global strategy that has seen similar operations in Mexico and Brazil. Approximately 64,000 X83s per year will be made in Barcelona, extending global production capacity to 150,000 units a year and helping the automakers to satisfy growing demand for the vehicle, which was voted Van of the Year 2002. The operation takes full advantage of exchanging best practices in industrial efficiency within the Alliance and adds to other synergies generated in the area of light commercial vehicles, with Nissan cross-badging three vehicles from Renault's LCV range in Europe.

The start of production of the X83 compact van - sold under the names Renault Trafic, Nissan Primastar and Opel Vivaro - at Nissan's Barcelona plant represents a new stage in cross-manufacturing by the Alliance and in the development of global production synergies between Renault and Nissan. This first joint production operation by the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Europe will help Renault, Nissan and GM Europe to satisfy demand for the vehicle. The Nissan plant in Barcelona was chosen for its ability to develop and implement new production processes and tools within a short timeframe, in a way that is profitable for all the partners.

Investment of €240 million

The investment required for the operation, a total of €240 million, was launched at the Nissan plant in Barcelona in March 2001, covering development costs, supplier tooling and other manufacturing equipment. Alterations to the layout of the plant, with the setting up of a new body-in-white assembly line, have made it possible to use the plant more efficiently and to extend its production capacity to 180,000 vehicles per year. A total of 183 suppliers are involved in the X83 project - 166 of them new to the Barcelona plant. Responsibility for purchasing lies with the Joint Purchasing Organization set up by Renault and GM Europe. Purchasing of parts and equipment for the new vehicle has been organized in such a way as to encourage local content. At start-up, it accounts for 15% of all vehicle components - around 300 parts.

Long-term production of 150,000 units by Luton and Barcelona

In a full year, about 64,000 vehicles will be produced in Barcelona and will be sold under the Renault, Opel and Nissan brands from the spring of 2003. All versions of the vehicle will be made in Barcelona - two wheelbases and two payloads (1,000kg and 1,200kg) - in addition to the high-roof version (H2).

The combined output of the Barcelona plant and GM Europe's facilities in Luton will boost production capacity. The operation will enable the three partners to meet the growing demand in Europe for compact vans, which account for half of all sales in the van segment. Combined production in Luton and Barcelona is expected to reach 150,000 units per year. The Renault Trafic and Opel Vivaro have been on sale in the companies' respective European dealer networks since the second half of 2001.

The operation takes full advantage of exchanging best practices in industrial efficiency within the Alliance

Outside Europe, the Alliance has already introduced cross-manufacturing at the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, which has been making the Renault Scénic since 2000 and Clio since 2001, and at the Renault plant in Curitiba, Brazil, which has been producing the Renault Master and Nissan Frontier pickup since the first half of 2002.

The start-up of the production line in Barcelona involved about 100 experts working on-site. In addition, some 20 Nissan technicians were sent for training in the engineering department of Renault's LCV Division in Villiers Saint-Frédéric, France.

The new production line combines aspects of the Renault Production Way (SPR) and the Nissan Production Way (NPW). For example, an automatic unit that checks bodies-in-white and completed vehicles is connected by modem to the LCV Division's engineering databases. The unit checks in real time that the vehicles comply with manufacturers' specifications and coordinates work at the two sites.

To back up Nissan's LCV sales drive in Europe, cross-badging will be extended to the full range of Renault LCVs

As part of the strategy of Nissan cross-badging Renault LCVs in Europe, all versions of the X83 - van, combi, minibus and platform cab - will be sold by Nissan under its own nameplate in Europe. The Nissan Primastar will have the same design but will feature a different radiator grille, indicators and seats.

The Primastar is the second product launched by Nissan after putting the Renault Master van on sale under the name Interstar. The two brands are currently looking into the possibility of marketing other LCVs with distinctive features but based on common platforms. A third vehicle in Renault's range of LCVs is expected to be put on sale by Nissan in 2003.

Powertrain components are also being exchanged in the area of LCVs. The 4WD version of Kangoo incorporates permanent four-wheel drive supplied by Nissan, and from 2003 Renault will use a 3-litre Nissan diesel engine for the Master and Master Propulsion vans.

(October 22, 2002)

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