Renault-Nissan alliance becomes world’s largest carmaker

Renault reported record results in the first half of the year on the back of a recovery in Russia and rising sales in Europe, helping the Renault-Nissan alliance overtake rivals Volkswagen and Toyota to become the largest carmaker in the world.

The group sold 5,268,079 cars globally in the six months, largely due to the addition of Mitsubishi Motors to the alliance’s stable last year. The number of cars Renault sold globally rose 10.4 per cent year on year to 1,879,000.

Volkswagen, which was the world’s biggest carmaker in 2016 in spite of the diesel scandal, sold 5,155,600 in the first half of 2017, while Toyota said on Friday it sold 5,129,000 vehicles.

General Motors, which for many decades was the world leader, sold 4.7m cars in the six months. The company is in the process of pulling out of several markets it considers too difficult to compete in, such as Europe and India. 

The figures came as Renault announced it had generated record operating profits of €1.8bn in the first half on revenues that were up 17 per cent year on year to €29.5bn.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault chief executive, said: “These results are due to our product range renewal plan, our geographic expansion and the commitment of all our employees.” 

The company’s operation in Russia, which had been heavily lossmaking, posted a profit of €3m for the six months. It increased its guidance for the country, a market whose automotive sector has been dogged by the weak economy, to more than 5 per cent growth. 

“There was a strong recovery in the market that we hadn’t foreseen as strongly,” Clotilde Delbos, Renault’s chief financial officer, told analysts on a conference call.

The country, where Renault operates both under its own brand and also through the Russian carmaker AvtoVAZ, is now the second largest for Renault after France.

Earlier in the week French rival Peugeot also increased its forecast for the Russian market after posting its own set of record…

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