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Leading Japanese automakers are embarking on ambitious programs to cut component costs, with significant implications for their parts suppliers.Nissan Motor (Yokohama), for example, recently announced the introduction of its next-generation vehicle engineering concept, called Nissan Common Module Family (CMF). Nissan vehicles developed under the CMF strategy are slated to enter the marketplace from 2013.

PlasticsToday Staff

March 6, 2012

2 Min Read
Standardization concepts target component cost cuts

Leading Japanese automakers are embarking on ambitious programs to cut component costs, with significant implications for their parts suppliers.

Nissan Motor (Yokohama), for example, recently announced the introduction of its next-generation vehicle engineering concept, called Nissan Common Module Family (CMF). Nissan vehicles developed under the CMF strategy are slated to enter the marketplace from 2013.

120227-01-01.jpegNissan’s Common Module Family (CMF) concept will see a drastic reduction in component variations.Also known as the 4+1 Big Module Concept, CMF separates the vehicle into the engine compartment, front underbody, cockpit, and rear underbody, plus the electrical and electronics architecture, with each module having appropriate variations. Depending on the module configuration, a variety of vehicles —from compacts, through large-sized vehicles through to tall SUVs—can be efficiently designed.

By focusing on these modules, Nissan aims to employ more common vehicle structures, components, and parts in order to reduce costs while still bringing to market vehicles with distinctive characteristics. “Through the introduction of CMF, Nissan expects to dramatically raise the appeal of its products and thereby significantly expand sales volume,” according to a company statement.

“The launch of 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,” the company adds.

Nissan has committed to introducing 90 new vehicle-related technologies by 2016. Nissan will introduce 51 new models over the course of its mid-term business plan, Nissan Power 88.

Toyota's New Global Architecture

Toyota Motor (Toyota) is also working to reduce costs, reportedly targeting a 50% reduction in its capital spending on parts production within four years by standardizing component designs under its New Global Architecture program. The automaker plans to globally standardize between 2000 and 2500 components and start using these in cars debuting between 2013 and 2015.

For example, Toyota intends to reduce the number of driving positions used across all of its vehicles to just four, meaning that components such as seatbelts and airbags can be standardized. Further, the company plans a drastic reduction in the 750 variants of 16 basic engine designs it currently uses in its vehicles, thereby enabling a reduction in the range of components such as radiators and ducting that are required

Essentially, the mechanical components of vehicles will be standardized to as great an extent as possible, while Toyota will differentiate individual modules through their external appearance and interior design. —[email protected]

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