Renault invests for new powertrain

Renault has invested a total of €308 million to ready its Cléon plant in Normandy, France to build a new diesel engine and six-speed gearbox for a number of its models.

Under the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Renault co-developed the 2.0 dCi (M9R) engine and gearbox (PK4) for the Mégane II, Laguna II, Espace IV and Vel Satis. Renault invested €250 million for engine production and €58 million for gearbox production.

Development of the engine drew investment of €500 million, comprising €200 million for product/process engineering, €250 million for capital expenditure and €50 million for vendor tooling.

The current production rate is 1,000 engines a week over one shift per day. This will build up gradually as the engine appears on more models in the Renault range, to reach 8,000 engines a week in the longer term.

Renault built a workshop exclusively assigned to the new engine at the Cléon site. Of the 10 production lines making up the new shop, four were built from scratch for test benches, crankshaft machining, cylinder block machining, and assembly.

A total of €51 million was invested on the introduction of new technologies, including €25 million on the installation of 18 test benches.

A total of €58 million was also invested to prepare for production of the new PK4 six-speed manual gearbox, specially designed to match the M9R engine. Four new production lines were set up, handling differential machining, differential assembly, housing machining, and sliding gear finishing. The PK4 production capacity at Cléon is 5,000 gearboxes a week.

Two new test benches were added, at a cost of €1 million. The total gearbox test time was doubled to 1.45 minutes. Tests were matched more closely to real-life conditions, through five measurement parameters: synchronisation force, engagement, shift, drag, synchronisation and engagement pulse.