Impact from the side is a leading cause of fatal injuries since the flanks of a car traditionally offer less protection. However, specific work into this area has produced positive breakthroughs. Indeed, both New Méganes inherit the same double side-impact sensors and dual-chamber airbags first seen on Laguna III. The latter adapts the load exerted on the body by delivering three times more pressure to the groin area which is more exposed compared with the thorax.
Meanwhile, the fixation rods of the new generation headrests slide within the headrest and no longer within the upper part of the seatback and ensure enhanced protection of the cervical vertebrae in case of impact from the rear. Since the rods no longer form a rigid element in the seat, the occupant's back can sink into the seatback until their head comes into contact with the headrest, resulting in less movement of the head and thorax.
Ensuring a sustainable profit context
The capital outlay for New Mégane amounted to €1.8 billion, a figure which covered the design of six new body-types and their production in Palencia (Spain) and Douai (France).
Despite the exacting brief, research and development costs were kept to a minimum thanks to the carry over of certain technologies developed for New Laguna.
Like New Laguna, New Mégane has benefited from the Quality Excellence Plan and has capitalized on the progress made following the application of Renault best practices and procedures, as laid out notably in the Renault Design Way (SCR) and Renault Production Way (SPR). This uncompromising cross-functional approach has been profitable to the entire range.
The carry over of certain components from New Laguna and other Renault models, as well as from the production set-up deployed for Mégane II has resulted in a sharp fall in production-related investment which is 30 per cent less than that required for the previous generation car.
The carry-over from Mégane II — which not only concerns platform components, but also the principal mechanical assemblies, parts and technical solutions — proved particularly valuable in curbing production-related investment and ultimately produced few constraints since it gave a free hand to the creativity of the design team.
A rationalized production plan ensures optimized use of manufacturing capacity. The program's profitability is to a great extent ensured by amortization of the cost of using existing production facilities. To favor optimal use of the capacity of its European production plants (Palencia and Douai), Renault has divided the production of the six models of the New Mégane family amongst these two sites, with New Mégane hatchback and New Mégane Coupé produced in Spain. This reorganization, with the different factories specializing in specific body-types, has enabled cost savings to be achieved in the production of the platform which has now been amortized. It has also made it possible to optimize the way the investment for the production of each body-type is targeted.
The €810 million production-related investment was divided as follows: €370 million invested with suppliers and €440 million in the factories, chiefly Douai and Palencia.