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Renault-Nissan group grabs top spot in 1st half global auto sales

The headquarters of Nissan Motor Co. is pictured in Yokohama's Nishi Ward on Dec. 22, 2017. (Mainichi)

The Renault-Nissan alliance retained the crown as the world's largest auto seller in the January to June period for a second consecutive year, outselling major rivals Volkswagen and Toyota groups.

The alliance formed by Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. sold 5.54 million vehicles worldwide in the first six months of 2018, up 5 percent from the same period last year.

The figure outstripped the 5.52 million vehicles sold in the same term by the Volkswagen group, which grabbed the top spot in global sales for the second straight year in 2017. The group includes the Audi and Porsche brands.

Renault led the Franco-Japanese alliance's sales growth in the first half with a 9.8 percent rise to 2.07 million vehicles, while Mitsubishi Motors' worldwide sales climbed 24.8 percent to 616,650 vehicles.

Their solid figures more than offset a 1.4 percent fall in Nissan's sales to 2.85 million vehicles on a sluggish U.S. performance.

Under the three-way alliance, Renault holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, which owns a 15 percent stake in Renault and 34 percent in Mitsubishi Motors.

Toyota Motor Corp. said that it and group automakers Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. saw their combined global sales reach a record-high 5.21 million vehicles in the first half of the year, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier.

The Toyota group's overseas sales were up 3.6 percent to 4.04 million vehicles, backed by strong demand in the Chinese and European markets. But domestic sales fell 4.8 percent to about 1.17 million vehicles.

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