As a volume manufacturer, Renault has always placed particular importance on the quality of its vehicles. In the 1980s the company encountered some quality problems that tarnished its image and ate into its market share. In 1988, at the urging of the then Chairman, Raymond-H. Lévy, Renault adopted a global policy of improving quality and cutting costs known as Total Quality. Its slogan was: “Bringing the customer into the company.“
The Chairman appointed a new Quality Director, Pierre Jocou, and gave him a free hand to implement improvements. Formerly Aftersales Director, Mr Jocou knew better than anyone what customers had been complaining about.
The Total Quality plan was launched in 1988. It covered the entire company, from the factory floor to senior management, and also included suppliers, subsidiaries and dealers. In particular, the campaign highlighted the three pillars of competitiveness – quality, costs and deadlines – but with the aim of improving them simultaneously rather than letting them compete with one another.
Some concrete examples:
A symbolic example: the R19. As soon as he began his new job, Pierre Jocou postponed the launch of the car by several months because its initial quality was considered inadequate. The decision sparked some strong reactions, particularly because of the resulting costs, but it marked the transition from a policy of compromise to one of demanding quality.