RENNES, France -- Renault-Nissan increased combined global vehicle sales by 2.5 percent to 8.47 million last year, but the alliance is no closer to CEO Carlos Ghosn’s goal of becoming one of the top three global automakers.
Higher demand for Nissan vehicles in the U.S. and Renault’s strong performance in a recovering Western Europe helped to lift 2014 global volume to a record for the alliance.
The alliance is “well-positioned and optimistic about the long-term prospects in the global growth markets despite the recent declines in Russia and Brazil,” Ghosn, who heads both automakers, said in a statement.
Sascha Gommel, an analyst for Commerzbank, said the result was positive but the growth was not enough to bring closer to Ghosn's goal of pushing the alliance into the top three ranking of automakers by vehicle sales, up from its current position as No. 4.
The alliance needs to grow much faster than Toyota, Volkswagen Group and General Motors to reach Ghosn’s target, Gommel told Automotive News Europe.
Last year, Toyota remained No. 1 with global vehicle sales of 10.23 million, up 3 percent. VW Group was No. 2 after its volume increased by 4 percent to 10.14 million. No. 3 GM boosted sales by 2 percent to 9.92 million.
Ghosn told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting last April that his aim is to "install Renault-Nissan as one of the top three global automakers."
Dacia, U.S. success
Gommel said the alliance’s global presence and the success of its low-cost Dacia brand are helping to increase sales. “Nissan took advantage of its presence in the U.S., which was one of the best markets in 2014, and Renault saw success in the low-cost segment last year since its product cycle is fairly new,” he said.
Nissan remains the bigger partner in the alliance even though Renault owns 43 percent of the Japanese automaker, which in turn holds a 15 percent stake in Renault.
Nissan’s global sales increased by 4 percent last year to a record 5.31 million. In the U.S., its biggest market, the automaker’s sales grew 11 percent to 1.39 million. In China, the automaker’s No. 2 market, Nissan sold 1.22 million vehicles, up 0.5 percent.
Renault’s global sales rose 3 percent to 2.71 million. Volume in Western Europe grew 13 percent to 1.46 million units. The gain helped Renault to offset a 5.9 percent fall to 1.25 million sales outside Europe as the automaker was hit by economic slowdowns in key markets such as Brazil and Russia.
EV sales rise 24%
Renault-Nissan’s combined electric car sales increased 24 percent to 82,602 last year, giving the alliance a global market share of 56 percent, the company said. The Nissan Leaf was the world’s best-selling EV with 61,507 sales, the statement said.