And a more rigorous checking system is now claimed to be putting the brake on assembly line issues that lead to problems with reliability.
In sweeping moves to lift the image of its models in the fleet sector and with private motorists, the French firm has adopted a package of revised manufacturing processes from Nissan, the car firm it took over six years ago.
As a result, it is achieving significant improvements in pan-European industry quality ratings and customer satisfaction surveys, quality director Yann Vincent has claimed.
He said: ‘In 2002, surveys tracking the first three months of usage showed that 31 out of every 1,000 of our cars were breaking down and a further 300 were suffering minor faults. People were very upset.
‘Now the figures have fallen to nine and 105 respectively, and the substantial reduction of instances causing a complete breakdown means we are making real progress.
‘But while we are on a good path, we accept we still have some way to go and will not rest on our laurels.’
Speaking at the Megane factory at Palencia in Spain, he revealed that Renault is committed to winning recognition as one of the top three most reliable brands over the next two years.
Vincent added: ‘Our aim is to be ranked alongside Toyota by 2008 and we can do it – we are already building models that will allow us to reach that level.’
‘Things have been written about our cars that were far from pleasing. We had most problems with the Laguna and our poor ratings in the UK were based on older cars. The quality of our vehicles three to four years ago led to horrendous placings.
‘Under our new strategic excellence plan, quality is an integral part of product development and we are much more aware that some of our customers demand vehicles able to withstand extreme usage, such as at airports or in ambulance services,’ he said.