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Renault-Nissan are close to overtaking General Motors on the global sales highway.

Sales from the Renault-Nissan Alliance were boosted last year by the addition of Mitsubishi Motors, taking the global partnership within a hair’s breadth of the world’s top three carmakers.

In total, the Alliance sold 9,961,347 vehicles in 2016, only 3,891 behind General Motors, which sold 9,965,238 cars in the year.

Volkswagen regained the crown this year after selling 10,312,440m vehicles, overtaking Toyota, which sold 10,213,486.

While Renault and Nissan are separate companies, they own significant stakes in each other and share some manufacturing and other back office functions under the banner of a global alliance, run by Carlos Ghosn, who is chief executive of both companies.

Last year, Nissan took a 34 per cent stake in Mitsubishi Motors after shares in the fellow Japanese carmaker plunged following admissions that it produced misleading fuel economy data on some vehicles.

As part of the deal, which saw Nissan inject $2.3bn into the group, Mitsubishi has joined the Alliance, and Mr Ghosn has become the company’s chairman.

In total, Renault’s sales rose 13.3 per cent to 3,182,625, while Nissan’s sales rose 2.5 per cent to 5,559,902.

Renault also owns the Dacia brand, while Nissan owns the upmarket Infiniti marque. The alliance also owns the Russian brand LADA.

Mitsubishi’s sales for the year were 934,013, a fall of 13 per cent.

Carlos Ghosn said: “The strength of this innovative partnership that began 18 years ago has allowed us to improve our competitiveness, boost our growth and engage in the race for the vehicle of the future.”

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