Renault, Nissan combine manufacture and R&D. Is Renault coming to America?
In 1999, Renault and Nissan forged a long-term alliance as automotive partners and began what has become a long drive towards a combined effort in manufacture and distribution. The alliance put CEO Carlos Ghosn in charge of both companies and he has been slowly but surely pooling their resources in Europe and Asia ever since.
The latest development is the biggest combination of efforts since the collaboration was first penned. Nissan and Renault jointly announced that they will be pooling their research and development departments as well as several manufacturing lines in a move that they project will save about $3.86 billion per year in costs.
A new manager will be appointed to oversee the production departments of both companies - that announcement is expected to come in April. A similar announcement for R&D will be made then as well. The new structure will allow the combination of several of the companies' R&D departments at facilities globally as well as several combined production lines in factories around the world. Exact locations for these changes have yet to be announced and will likely come after the new department heads are named, with the exception of the obvious pooling of resources already underway at the Nissan-Renault joint factory in India. There are fifty factories between the two companies worldwide.
I'ts unclear, but very likely that the new department heads announced in April will be directly underneath newly-promoted Chief Competitive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, who oversees both R&D and manufacturing as well as purchasing and supply chain operations.
So will this mean that we will begin seen Renault vehicles on American shores?
Not very likely. At least not anytime soon. The Renault lineup is largely European with some Asian appeal. Many Renault vehicles are basically replicas of current Nissan offerings as well. So although it would be fun to see how the Twizy would fair here and perhaps take a Laguna Coupe or Megane Cabriolet for a drive, it's not very likely we'll see the Renault nameplate plying American roads.
What we could see are some of these design ideas entering the Nissan lineup or perhaps reviving the Datsun brand, but that would be pure speculation on our part - with perhaps a dash of wishful thinking thrown on.