Combined sales by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors rose 6.5% year on year to 10,608,366 units in 2017 – one in nine passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold worldwide, the automakers said on Tuesday (30 January).

The alliance said growing demand for SUVs, light commercial vehicles and the rising number of electric vehicles shifted helped lift unit sales in 2017, the first full year of Mitsubishi Motors’ membership. 

Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “With more than 10.6m passenger cars and light commercial vehicles sold in 2017, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has become the number one automotive group worldwide. This evolution reflects the breadth and depth of our model range, our global market presence and the customer appeal of our vehicle technologies.”

Last year, alliance member companies sold vehicles in nearly 200 countries under 10 brands (Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Dacia, Renault Samsung, Alpine, Lada, Infiniti, Venucia and Datsun).

The Renault group’s sales were up 8.5% to 3,761,634 units in 2017.

Renault, which claims to be the world’s leading French brand and second in Europe, said its sales set a new record as did Dacia.

“Renault is seeking continued growth in 2018, buoyed by the development of its international activities and its renewed range, in line with its Drive The Future plan,” the automaker said.

Nissan Motor boosted sales 4.6% to 5,816,278 units worldwide. In the US and China, the company achieved growth of 1.9% and 12.2% respectively. Infiniti sales rose 7% to 246,492.

After a couple of scandal-related poor years, Mitsubishi sales rose 10% to 1,030,454 vehicles in 2017, boosted by China, a key market in the automaker’s Drive For Growth plan. There, sales rose 56% to 129,160 units making the country MMC’s largest market thanks to strong demand for the locally produced Outlander.

MMC said ASEAN region results were strong – up 17% to 242,224 units, thanks to the launch of the Xpander compact multi-purpose vehicle in Indonesia. In Japan, sales increased by 7% as the marketing of kei-cars resumed.

EVs

Since 2010, when the Nissan Leaf was first introduced, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has sold 540,623 electric vehicles worldwide through its different brands. Cumulatively, the Alliance continues to claim global leadership for 100% electric passenger cars and light commercial electric vehicles.

The Leaf remained the world’s best-selling EV with more than 300,000 vehicles sold since its launch in December 2010.

Nissan launched the redesigned  Leaf in Japan and will roll it out in other major markets during 2018. The new model received over 40,000 orders globally including 13,000 orders in Japan; 13,000 reservations in the United States; and over 12,000 orders in Europe.

Nissan’s e-NV200, a light commercial vehicle sold mainly in Europe and Japan, has also recently been upgraded with an additional 100km (60 miles) of driving range in Europe.

In 2017 Renault claimed, for the third consecutive year, to lead Europe’s EV segment with a market share of 23.8% and sales volumes up 38%. The Zoe was the best-selling EV in Europe with volume up 44%.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance sold 91,000 EVs in 2017, up 11%.

Strategic plan

As part of the alliance’s 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting annual synergies will pass EUR10bn by the end of 2022. It plans to launch 12 new zero emission electric vehicles and 40 vehicles with autonomous drive.

The introduction of such new models and technology is expected to lift combined annual sales of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to more than 14m units, generating revenues expected of US$240bn by the end of 2022.

See also: ANALYSIS – What Nissan plans for the future of Mitsubishi