By on December 7, 2016

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

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]

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6 Comments on “The Kids are Fighting Again: Renault-Nissan Swaps Out Powertrain Chief to Stamp Out a Family Squabble...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Well, in Australia we can see this powertrain issue clearer than the US.

    Nissan screwed up the Patrol in the engine department and Patrol platform. The Patrol used to be an affordable family SUV with quite usable engines.

    The Navara needs bigger diesel engine.

    In the US the new Frontier should of had priority over the Titan.

    The Pathfinder should of been a decent off road capable SUV and not this pansey ass wagon.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I worked in a company that bought another. I had to train them on some of our systems and they resisted. They replaced several managers and then fired a bunch of folks during a recession. That pretty much got everyone onboard, even tho we still heard grumbling.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

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

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Corey, does Nissan use any Renault engines in the US? Nissan uses Renault diesel engines in cars, but that’s been irrelevant in the US. Might have Renault engines in the Versa and Sentra.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    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.

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