The Kids Are Fighting Again: Renault-Nissan Swaps Out Powertrain Chief to Stamp Out a Family Squabble

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the kids are fighting again renault nissan swaps out powertrain chief to stamp out a

Nissan and Renault consummated their marriage in 1999, but some family members still aren’t happy living under the same roof.

In an effort to put a lid on infighting, Renault-Nissan has asked its head of powertrain engineering to take a walk, replacing him with a company veteran who — the company hopes — can bring both sides together.

The alliance needs a hug-filled happy ending in a hurry, as regulators are gunning for the automaker’s not-so-clean engines.

As reported by Reuters, the automaker named Philippe Brunet as its top executive in charge of engines and transmissions today, replacing Alain Raposo in that role. Raposo, who failed to bring about a truce between both powertrain camps, shuffles off to an advisory role on January 1.

For the most part, both companies saw mutual benefits from the alliance. Shared platforms, new markets and prosperity followed the marriage, but the nuptials couldn’t stamp out the rivalry between the powertrain divisions of both companies. Reportedly, each side wants their technology to become the standard throughout the alliance, and it’s driving executives nuts.

“It’s a permanent punch-up — after 17 years we are still unable to think like a single company,” an unnamed Renault-Nissan executive told Reuters yesterday. “In powertrain it’s always been hell.”

Already, both brands share 85 percent of the alliance’s engines. Still, both sides are dissatisfied, and neither are Europe’s environmental watchdogs. Independent testing performed in the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal fingered Renault-Nissan’s engines for their smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions. Some European Union prosecutors aren’t even sure the company’s engines are entirely legal.

With stringent European emissions standards on the way, it’s more important than ever for both powertrain divisions to work together and develop cleaner powerplants.

“We’re behind on several projects — some engine development schedules are all over the place,” another manager told Reuters. “The tighter standards are causing real difficulties, so we’re hiring and doing everything we can, but it’s not enough.”

It looks like the automaker’s solution was to hire a new, stricter nanny. Brunet, who joined Renault’s Formula One unit in 1989 before moving on to its engineering division in 2000, needs to be that guy.

[Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars]

Join the conversation
4 of 6 comments
  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 07, 2016

    Oh please, Nissan engines are superior to Renault engines, and that's really all there is to it.

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 08, 2016

      @George B I don't think they use Renault engines outright. In smaller cars like the Versa, they've got a series of engines they co-developed.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Dec 07, 2016

    All companies have cultures, some of them are quite strong. I've been in both sides of the fence, both as an employee in an acquired company, and as an employee in the purchasing company. My two cents on these events? The purchasing company will always want to impose their rules and culture on the acquired company. Even though some of the acquired company's procedures may actually be superior. This is after all, Human nature. When the Spaniards conquered the Aztec Empire, Catholicism and Spanish language were imposed on the Indian tribes. Not the other way around.

  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.
  • Inside Looking Out You should care. With GM will die America. All signs are there. How about the Arsenal of Democracy? Toyota?