Keen to benefit from best practice across the Renault-Nissan Alliance, benchmarking exercises were carried out at four key sites: Renault’s production sites in Flins (France) and Valladolid (Spain) where the highly regarded Clio III and Modus models are produced, as well as Nissan’s luxury car plant in Tochigi (Japan) and also in Sunderland (UK), one of the most efficient factories in Europe.
Among the improvements to be made was the introduction of “strike zones” based on an electronic light system for pre-selecting parts required on the assembly line. Such a simple new system will reduce the likelihood of human error significantly. Body protection has been improved to reduce the likelihood of paintwork damage, even to the point that the newly produced cars will be parked carefully in a different way. Under the new process, all of the cars are being aligned on the edge of white lines instead of in the centre of a parking bay to widen the gap for opening doors of nearby vehicles. Every New Laguna will also undergo a thirty-minute dynamic and static test after leaving the assembly line.
The Sandouville factory in north west France, the production base for New Laguna has been central to the achievement of such stringent quality methods. The commitment, enthusiasm and training of the plant’s workforce will continue to be key to the car’s launch and product lifecycle.
Renault’s sights are set high for a reason. As the new flagship for the Renault range, it will mark the company’s first steps towards its upmarket ambitions. In addition to building on the major quality progress which the company has made in recent years with Clio and Modus in particular, New Laguna will also contribute to the two other fundamental objectives outlined in Renault Commitment 2009, boosting profitability and achieving an additional 800,000 sales in 2009.
In European clinic trials, New Laguna has already achieved impressive results, ranking first in five out of six markets where it was shown, due to its stylish and well-made interior and elegant lines, both on the Hatch and Sport Tourer. Its sweeping dashboard and overall fit and finish have already drawn several comparisons with some of its German rivals.
Internal company milestones have already shown that New Laguna is even outperforming Clio III, itself one of the top-three ranking cars in its segment, so these results can only bode well for the forthcoming flagship.
In addition to the quality of the product, Renault has also pledged top three status for its service quality. For the past year, dealer networks in 26 countries have been preparing for the new car’s arrival as part of the Renault Excellence Plan, PER4. The project sets out 10 requirements for sales and an extra 10 for after-sales service, ranging from greeting a customer within 2 minutes to accompanying a customer back to their vehicle.
The test drive and handover procedures have also been upgraded. Test drives will be more flexible while handover will include taking a new owner through daily fundamentals such as using the air conditioning system or programming the radio and satellite navigation system.
The twenty-point checklist may at first glance appear to be a relatively simple tool, but when combined together, the actions will ensure a level of service in keeping with the quality of the product itself, on a consistent basis. Much like the meaning of the four Es set out in PER4: Excellence, Everyone, Everywhere, Everytime.
In addition to its high level of quality, New Laguna also promises to offer an involving and rewarding drive. Everything about the new model Laguna has been designed for genuine driving pleasure, combining outstanding ride quality and comfort with top-class handling performance and best-in-class active and passive safety features. In line with the exceptional level of travelling comfort offered, New Laguna’s interior design creates an atmosphere of calm and serenity for all of its occupants.
Preliminary information for the New Laguna range has already been released, however, further insight is available from the preview site, www.insidenewlaguna.com , in the lead-up to its world debut in Frankfurt and its UK launch on 19 October 2007.Published 19 August 2007