Gerard Detourbet, Managing Director of Alliance A-segment Development Unit, Renault-Nissan spoke to Bhargav TS on the CMF-A platform and the development of Renault Kwid.

DETOURBET Gérard - Alliance Managing Director « Alliance A Segment development unit

Q: For Renault-Nissan alliance Kwid is the first car to be produced under Common Module Family-Affordable (CMF-A) platform, what are all the challenges you faced while developing it?
Detourbet: CMF-A is a platform jointly developed by Renault-Nissan alliance and this concept covers a wide range of vehicle platforms. This is a world wide platform conceptualised for many vehicles and will go further in the developing an international, flexible product offering based on component sharing and high-performance architecture. We worked extensively on the interior styling to reduce the number of parts. The powertrain can be varied significantly in order to match the specific requirements and preferences of customers across the globe. To reduce the investments, our suppliers were engaged from the design stage to share the work and made to co-develop the components for Kwid.

Q: How many different body styles have been launched hitherto with this CMF-A platform and what would be the next car to be manufactured in this platform?
Detourbet: CMF-A platform is introduced in 6 different bodies as of now and this is a world-wide platform. This platform is able to feed lot of countries with its universal standard attribute. As the platform will be shared by the alliance partner Nissan, Datsun Redigo will be the next A-segment car, which is slated to be launched next year.

Q: How unique is this platform, when comparing your existing ones?
Detourbet: This platform opens new horizons in terms of our ability to satisfy and even exceed the expectations of customers in countries where demand is highest, especially for the first time car buyers. These influential consumers do not want a car that was initially designed for mature markets before becoming outdated. They look for modern and robust car at a competive price, therefore this platform will help us to address these issues.

Q: How do you plan to source components for this small cars and will you be utilising the existing supplier base?
Detourbet: We have indigenous suppliers supplying components for our small car. We are utilising 20-25% of our existing suppliers extend our arms to all suppliers who supply components to Tata Motors, Hyundai, Maruti-Suzuki for their C segments. We have good supply chain supporting for our sub 4 lakh car segment and it is big plus for us.

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Q: Do you have any paradigm involved in choosing your supplier pace?
Detourbet: We focus mainly on the size of the supplier. Our supplier should be able to standardise themselves for a quality-quantity run. They should be able to design components based on our needs and time lines. Currently we are focusing on the Indian market, but we have plans to take this small car to overseas market and our supplier should be effective-enough to set up an establishment outside India to meet our needs. As small cars are price-sensitive we will not be able to incur costs on the import. Hence we choose suppliers who could work for us with a set-up at overseas on contingencies and opportunities.

Q: How R&D centre in India contributes to the manufacturing of small cars for Renault?
Detourbet: We need expertise and I could divide the man power requirement for the car development in 2 ways. Skilled people who could support us with the design concepts and wage people who can work in the assembly line in the factory. The master brain behind this Kwid is from Japan who gives an insight on design, space and visibility. As far as testing is concerned, the body and chassis were tested in Japan, body equipment was evaluated in Korea and endurance tests were carried out in France, while India was the backdrop for overall and assembly testing.

Q: How many variants are to be introduced in Kwid and what is your plan of introducing diesel variant in Kwid?
Detourbet: As of now we will be launching 4 variants and based on the success and any market requirement we will be adding variants. We cannot substantiate the diesel variant introduction as new emission norms would not support diesel vehicle in terms of durability in a longer run. Indian market lacks interest in diesel cars. So we do not have any intent to release diesel models in kwid.

Q: When can we expect Renault kwid rolling on the roads and how are you going to deal with the mass market?
Detourbet: We have made plans to roll out the car in the month of September 2015. We will be able to satiate the expectations of the mass market and could equal the supply against the demands. As of now we have a capacity of 460000 units and on huge success we could extend the capacity.

Q: Renault faced out Logan from the Indian market few years ago. Is there any further steps to bring back Logan here?Detourbet: Logan was launched and planned for B segments focusing on the economy. There were specific issues to be addressed in that. We found stiff competition with Maruti and 40% of sales descends but the model does well in other countries and we do not have plans to tag Logan as a come back for Indian market as there are other small cars circumference the market and we could not afford to be a laggard. Hence we have to be proactive in competing with this market with Kwid like launches. ACI

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