Due to their alliance, Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA expect to save $3.3 billion during the next three years.

It is thought that about $200 million of the projected savings will be from improvements in manufacturing processes. The rest will come from reducing global inventory 30 percent and from labor productivity gains.

Renault bought a 37 percent stake in Nissan in May 1999. Nissan has been trying to cut costs to return to profitability after losing 684.4 billion ($6.3 billion) in its fiscal year ended March 31. Renault is in the final year of a three-year plan to reduce its costs by 20 billion French francs ($2.77 billion).

Nissan is working in Japan to be able to deliver a custom-ordered car within 14 days, down from 20 to 22 days now. The automaker also plans to reduce inventory levels to about three weeks, which can be compared to as much as a month and a half a few years ago.

As part of their alliance, three high-level Nissan manufacturing executives now are assigned to the French automaker's plants, with one Renault counterpart at a Nissan facility in Japan. Lower-level exchanges of personnel are too numerous to count, with weekly exchanges common at Nissan's U.K. and Spain factories.