So the Volkswagen Group has its ultra-flexible MQB platform while PSA is just starting to use its equally modular EMP2 base. Mazda too isn’t far behind either with its SkyActiv-Chassis to call upon. Now the Renault-Nissan Alliance is taking the whole shared-vehicle architecture to a new level with its own Common Module Family (CMF) system.

This is not a simple do-it-all platform. It’s a new approach to engineering architecture using shared assembly of compatible Big Modules: engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical/electronic layout. CMF can involve several platforms of various sizes – a universal cross-sector concept.

It offers opportunities for more carryover parts to be shared between vastly different types of vehicles, an exercise that has previously been limited to models within the same platform. Standardised components and shared modules will also lead to an increased number of possible vehicles per platform base.

Compact and large vehicles from both Nissan and Renault will benefit first from CMF as it’s implemented in stages between 2013 and 2020. The new system will generate an average of 30-40% reduction in entry cost per model plus 20-30% lower parts cost for the Alliance.

The initial wave will include 14 models, including three from Nissan starting late this year (next-generation X-Trail, Qashqai and US-only Rogue). Renault’s CMF model line-up will first consist of 2014 replacements for the Espace, Scénic and Laguna.