Nissan Micra production at Flins and Micra chassis production at Le Mans have generated an increase in recruitment in the employment catchment areas of the two sites. Renault recruited nearly 600 people at Flins and Le Mans on open-ended contracts between 2015 and 2016, covering all professional categories (operators, technicians and managers). The jobs concern young graduates and experienced professionals alike, with education levels ranging from vocational training certificates and professional high-school diplomas to five years of higher education.
The chassis components of the new Nissan Micra are produced in their entirety by a French plant, Renault’s oldest in France: Le Mans. Requiring a €7 million investment in new manufacturing tools, this production has increased site activity by around 8%. Le Mans today is involved in nearly all the Group’s “product” projects and houses a chassis technical center on the leading edge of innovation and expertise.
The new Nissan Micra has a more modern design, onboard technology and dynamic road performance for guaranteed at-the-wheel pleasure. Targeting demanding young customers, it has everything it takes to carve out a strong position in the ultracompetitive urban car market.
— Interview with Catherine Perez
Vice-President, B Segment Program, Nissan
Catherine Perez — The fifth-generation model was designed for Europe, so it was natural to produce it at a site close to its main customers. The European market is extremely competitive, especially in the urban car market, and the success of a model launch hinges on not making customers wait too long. We also chose a European site because each customer can create “his” Micra, a customization possibility that is incompatible with long-distance transport. Competing against the other sites in the network, Flins came out on top notably because it already produced other B-segment models. This meant we could reuse equipment already in place.
— It is the first time Nissan has entrusted Renault with the industrial development of a completely new vehicle. This required the convergence of two industrial cultures and the introduction of specific Nissan work procedures at Flins. The process took three years starting from the choice of the French site in 2013. Several Flins operators attended training in Japan at Nissan’s Oppama plant, one of the Group’s most modern sites. This valuable exercise in sharing led to a number of reciprocal adaptations. For example, Nissan adopted the car roof assembly process used by Renault. More attractive, faster and less costly, this process is now used for the Nissan Micra and will be extended to other Nissan production sites for other vehicles. After an initial phase of producing parts on a replica of the assembly line in Japan, tests were made on the real line with the support of Nissan teams having traveled to France. This led to the production of the first cars in early 2017.
— This project is much more than a simple sharing of processes.
The engineering, quality and manufacturing teams from Flins and Oppama put a great deal of effort into the project. Thanks to their substantial efforts over a three-year period, this production line today represents the very best of Renault and Nissan. A true “learning workshop” was rolled out, and the Alliance will reap the benefits over the long term.
Nathalie Retourné, Head of the Paint Shop Elementary Work Unit, was one of the 60 Flins employees to train at Nissan’s Oppama site in Japan. We talked about the exceptional experience.
Nathalie Retourné — I made two trips to Oppama with two of my colleagues – a trainer and an operator. On the first trip, I learned all about the production lines and obtained Supervisor Master Trainer certification, so now I can train other operators on Nissan standards. This is the first time Renault employees have obtained this certification, and it was a vital point in Nissan authorizing Flins to produce Micra. Our second trip was more about training on specific tools. I was struck both times by the rigorousness of the training, the time our Japanese colleagues spent detailing every movement and process and explaining them to the operators. The system is extensive, with video screens set up at operator station showing operating procedures.
— It changed the way I look at my teams and the way I transmit my knowledge to them. But the opposite is also true: there was a real dialogue between us. For example, the Oppama teams didn’t have the same approach to ergonomics, and when we were there we explained ours to them.
— It is a real opportunity for the plant, ensuring its long-term future. But above all this project has given the Alliance concrete form. We are now producing a Nissan vehicle, but thanks to the sharing of best practices and processes between Renault and Nissan. My impression is that it is no different from manufacturing a Renault car.
years of experience
millions vehicles sold
worldwide in 2016, or 1 out of 9 vehicles
with Daimler, Dongfeng, AVTOVAZ and Mitsubishi Motors
electric vehicles sales combined for the Renault-Nissan Alliance,
with Mitsubishi Motors, at end-2016