Dark Horse Renault-Nissan Is World’s 2nd Largest Automaker, Beats Volkswagen – Forbes

Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Volkswagen AG, the company that ended 2016 as the world’s largest automaker, continues to show a lack of follow-through. Three months into the year, the Germans fell back to place three. It does not surprise that formerly largest automaker Toyota regained the leadership. The astonishing part is that a dark horse is in second place. With Mitsubishi under its belt, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has upset the top three, and even more surprising, it is nipping on the heels of #1 Toyota.

13.% ahead of the same quarter in 2016, the Alliance is the only contestant on the podium with double-digit gains. With 7.5% growth in the first quarter, Toyota has found back to its steady-as-she goes pace. Volkswagen has lost half a percent compared to Q1 2016. All this according to data release by the automakers.

Probably even more demoralizing, Volkswagen’s perennial volume model, the Golf, lost its position as Europe’s best-selling car to Ford’s Fiesta, professional car-counter JATO Dynamics said today. The Golf is nearing a model change, and decreased sales of the outgoing model are to be expected. However, “there’s also been a general slowdown on diesel registrations across the continent, which has had a notable impact on the Volkswagen Golf, but has left smaller segments, where the Fiesta sits, relatively unaffected,” said Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics. He thinks that the “change in position may only be temporary, as we expect the updated Golf model to reinvigorate sales.”

JATO is busy assembling the full Top Ten of the first quarter, which will be published when the data from all markets are in, hopefully this coming week.

Note: This analysis tracks production, not sales, because this is how the world automaker umbrella organization OICA ranks automakers. Due to the different methodologies of their measurement, “sales” numbers have proven to be unreliable, and prone to ‘sales reporting abuses,” as recent scandals in the U.S., along with rampant “self-registrations” in the EU have shown.

Toyota reports both sales and production, this takes production. Volkswagen reports “deliveries” to wholesale – which is, at least for this exercise, close enough to production. The Alliance numbers is a blend of production data reported by Nissan and Mitsubishi, and deliveries reported by Renault.

 

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