At the core of the plan is what the companies are calling “leader-follower.”
Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi will divvy up technologies, segments and individual world markets into spheres of influence. One company will lead in each given area to avoid duplication and save resources.
The approach will likely increase interdependence without a full merger by allowing an individual company to hand off work in some areas to one of its partners. Under this divide-and-conquer approach, for example, Nissan will spearhead midsize crossover development for all three automakers around the world.
Key to the plan is stepped-up commonization across all three companies. In the past, the companies worked on common vehicle platforms. They are now extending that to include the upper bodies of vehicles.
The group expects big savings from that change. But at the same time, the alliance plans to cut the number of vehicle platforms by nearly half to just four. The approach will designate a “mother vehicle” to serve as the template for every other model in its segment.
The alliance reckons it can save 40 percent on product development this way. In the critical midsize crossover segment alone, Senard estimated, the companies can trim $2.2 billion in developing the next-generation models due to arrive from 2025.
Nissan, which will launch the redesigned Rogue crossover this year, will spearhead global development of that popular vehicle class for all three companies under the new setup.
The partners also will divide responsibility for developing future technologies.
Nissan will be the leader in developing electrification for midsize vehicles, in autonomous driving and in connectivity technologies for China.
Renault will assume the lead in Android-based connectivity, in electrification for small vehicles and in overall electronic architecture.
Mitsubishi is expected to focus on plug-in hybrid powertrains and minivehicles.
Meanwhile, different global markets will be called “reference regions,” where the leader company serves as a model for the most competitive practices. Nissan will take the lead in North America, China and Japan. Renault will spearhead Europe, Russia, South America and Africa. Mitsubishi will head up Southeast Asia and Oceania.