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Nissan Talks Efficiency And Common Module Family

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On: Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:22PM | By: Chris Salamone

Nissan Talks Efficiency And Common Module Family

Nissan recently announced the introduction of a next-gen efficient engineering project, aptly named the Common Module Family (CMF). For decades automakers have struggled with keeping production costs low, often by sharing the infrastructure or gadgetry from other makes or models. While platform and part sharing sounds great on its face, consumers often demand distinctive vehicle characteristics, constantly improved fuel economy, and cutting edge safety or technology features – which makes engineering efficiency a huge obstacle for any automaker.

But not anymore. Nissan intends to implement a four module system which allows for a wide spectrum of vehicle design concepts. From compact to large-scale SUVs, the CMF program will mix and match standard modules from the engine compartment, cockpit, front underbody, and rear underbody.

As if last year’s financial results didn’t portray a strong enough story of business savvy, the automaker intends for future years to be even more successful: “Nissan has committed to introducing 90 new technologies by 2016. The launch of Nissan CMF will enable commonization that transcends vehicle segments, lower costs, and facilitate the simultaneous application of attractive new technologies across several models that up to now had been clustered in higher-end segments. Nissan CMF will bring new technologies to a wider range of Nissan owners around the world faster than ever before.”

In theory, the CMF design scheme will allow for manufacturing efficiency across the entire product lineup, hence the title. The lynchpin to the whole strategy, however, will be Nissan’s ability to apply varying architectures for individual electronic and technology applications. Of course, the whole plan is still in the theoretical phase but the company fully expects CMF-made vehicles to enter worldwide markets by 2013 – a lofty goal indeed.

For decades automakers have attempted to beg for, borrow, and steal parts in the name of manufacturing efficiency, often resulting in licensing contracts or partnerships with divergent brands. To that end, Nissan’s CMF strategy is not unique, but to our knowledge no automaker has succeeding in streamlining such a large portfolio into four common modules.

With the new Pathfinder, Altima, and F-Alpha platform slotted to debut in the coming months, Nissan is well on its way to making a big splash in 2012. If 2013 heralds the coming of an über-efficient CMF design process, then perhaps the sky’s the limit from a balance sheet perspective. What’s that pesky Nissan stock symbol again?


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