Nissan will roll out the first cars manufactured under its new Common Module Family (CMF) platform later this year.
First in the family will be the redesigned X-Trail SUV and its CMF platform will feature four variable modules - engine compartments, cockpits, front underbodies and rear underbodies. These will share components and high cost electronic components with a range of different models.
Each module includes a range of variations to reduce costs and ensure that all of its products rapidly improve. Nissan believes that this approach will help reduce development costs by around 30%, as well has cutting the number of parts while ramping up the order volume for every component.
The Nikkei business newspaper noted Nissan currently uses seven different steering wheels and orders an average of 150,000 units for each. Under its CMF strategy, it will only use one type of steering wheel, with orders expected to hit 1.55m units.
The strategy is also being adopted by alliance partner Renault and suppliers will see the way they do business with the companies changing. They will need to demonstrate the ability to guarantee stable supplies for both companies to win orders.
Under the CMF engineering strategy, Nissan will work closely with component makers from the early stages of product development to lower the cost of each component. The carmaker said that the system will be more effective at reducing costs because Nissan will be able to use more common parts.
The Nikkei noted that some Japanese component makers are already trying to position themselves to supply parts to both Nissan and Renault. Kasai Kogyo, a producer of auto interior parts, has already tied up with Spain's Grupo Antolin.
The newspaper also said Nissan will need to cooperate with component makers even more than in the past because the CMF approach will raise the potential for losses from parts defects.