Roddy MACLEOD - Vice President, Production Engineering, Nissan Europe
Who is Roddy?
Roddy is responsible for Production Engineering & Quality Engineering in Nissan’s European manufacturing plants in Russia, Spain and the UK. He travels extensively between the sites every month, with the primary focus being on overseeing new model introduction activity from a manufacturing perspective. This includes managing the quality and production engineers, and ensuring that all activities required to produce new models are going smoothly.
Roddy began his career while still studying in 1984 at Honeywell Control Systems, a supplier of combustion controls and domestic heating. In 1989 he joined NMUK in Sunderland as a graduate trim and chassis engineer. At that time the plant was still producing its first model, the iconic Nissan Bluebird, and was preparing to launch the Primera in 1990.
In 1993 Roddy moved to Japan for three years to be a trim and chassis production engineer. He returned to NMUK in 1996, as a Senior Engineer and subsequently went on to become Engineering Manager in 1999.
Three years later, in 2002, Roddy went back to Japan as the first non-Japanese “Seisan Shutan” (New Model Project Manager) for the Nissan Qashqai. He went back to the UK in 2006 to oversee the Qashqai’s introduction and launch.
In his next role as MSPO manager, Roddy piloted a new model strategy for NMUK, which has helped secure the manufacturing of many future models there.
In 2008, Roddy was made General Manager, Nissan Europe Production Engineering, and was responsible for overseeing the successful launch of the Nissan JUKE.
In 2011, Roddy took up his third assignment in Japan where he became the first non-Japanese “Seisan Shukan” (Global New Model Development Deputy General Manager). In 2013 it was once again back to the UK where he assumed his current position.
Achievements at Nissan
Roddy is proud of the work he was involved in on the original Nissan Qashqai. He said: “I was in Japan to work on a replacement vehicle for Almera, but one year into that assignment the project was changed and I was moved onto what ultimately ended up being the original Qashqai. I spent three years in Japan working on that before returning to the UK to launch that vehicle. Original Qashqai Launch and that was an extremely proud moment for me. Since then the car has been a huge success – it’s really captured the imaginations of so many people.”
Just after completing the set-up of the original Nissan Qashqai project, Roddy was asked to take up a manufacturing strategy planning role - the first of its kind within the product engineering team. He said: “This team was established to win new model allocations for our manufacturing plants across Europe. I did it for about six months and the end result was that we had clear processes in place to win new models and ultimately it’s what helped NMUK secure the original Nissan Juke.”
Why is Nissan Different?
”My personal experience is a testament that you really can do anything you like at Nissan,” Roddy explained. “While it is a huge global company, if I can come in as a graduate trainee at NMUK and then 25 years later be the Vice President of Production Engineering for Europe, having spent nine years in Japan in the middle, then it shows that anyone can do anything. That is one of the truly great things about this company.”
Roddy sees the advancement of technology continuing its rapid disruption of the industry. He said: “Our customers expect the latest technology to be fully integrated these days and that’s what we’re delivering. The shift in technology towards assisted and autonomous drive has to be matched by a shift in manufacturing processes, and some of these are very complicated. I’d estimate that between 30% and 40% of manufacturing’s preparation activities for a new model are now directly related to technology and software.”
In Personal Time
Roddy enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, particularly walking and being outside.
Roddy currently drives an Infiniti Q50 hybrid, which he describes as an amazing car. His first car was a 1978 Vauxhall Chevette GLS hatchback.