For the past few years, the Volkswagen Group has been at the top of the charts when it comes to light vehicles. In fact, they were the world’s top-selling automaker. In 2018, the numbers were crunched for the 2017 model-year, and a new challenger has not only risen but conquered the top spot. Thanks to the addition of Mitsubishi Motors to the Nissan-Renault Alliance, the Nissan-Renault Alliance is the new champion for the world’s top-selling automaker of light vehicles.
The VW Group has held the largest market share in Europe for the last two decades, and in 2017 ranked sixth as one of the world’s largest companies in the 2017 Fortune Global 500 list. The VW Group sells passenger cars under the following names - Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, and Volkswagen, of course. In 2016, they were the world’s top seller, hitting having accumulated 10.53 million units sold worldwide.
For 2017, the total sales of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance hit 10.6 million units sold worldwide. Included in those sales, Nissan nearly hit a record high of 5.82 million, Renault sold 3.76 million units, and Mitsubishi Motors contributed another 1.03 million. Although only making up a fifth of the sales, Mitsubishi’s addition to the alliance made all the difference.
Back in November 2016, the partnership between Mitsubishi and Nissan-Renault spawned, saving Mitsubishi Motors from a quick fate in bankruptcy. Since then, Mitsubishi has been making the best it can out of its new partnership, and Nissan-Renault has no problems with that. Before Nissan-Renault bought a controlling percentage of Mitsubishi Motors, the alliance was having trouble with manufacturing and designing solid plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), but were doing pretty well with electric vehicles. The opposite was true for Mitsubishi, having discontinued their low-selling (in terms of North American sales) Mitsubishi i-Miev back in 2017, but doing extremely well with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, recently added to the North American lineup.
Now a part of the Nissan-Renault alliance for a little more than a year, Mitsubishi Motors has actually earned a 6.5-percent growth in sales. They attribute this to an increased demand for UVs, light commercial vehicles, and a rising number of zero-emission pure electric vehicles. In 2017, the alliance sold vehicles in nearly 200 countries under 10 brands, including Nissan-Renault and Mitsubishi. With the Alliance Ventures funding campaign, they’re bound to meet the new demands of the auto market.
The plans for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance seem to be heading into hybrid and electric vehicle territory, with Mitsubishi planning ten new models, most of which will be hybrid SUVs. The alliance itself has plans to release twelve new all-electric vehicles by 2022. To do this, the alliance actually started a new funding campaign worth $1 billion, called “Alliance Ventures.” The campaign was build to support open innovation, start-ups, and entrepreneurs in technology. With the alliance focusing on autonomous systems, electric vehicles (EVs), connectivity, and artificial intelligence, and the automarket quickly shifting towards alternative fuel and smart technology, it’s a good, strategic move.
What else does Mitsubishi Motors have going for it? Aside from being able to make use of Nissan-Renault resources for global expansion, and aside from creating cross-brand vehicles, Mitsubishi Motors is actually doing really well for itself these days. During our “2017 End of the Year Recap”, we touched on some of the larger accomplishment Mitsubishi Motors has since their addition to the Nissan-Renault Alliance. To name a few, we discussed their completely in-house 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, a recapturing of the eclipse nameplate on a crossover; their new line of all-electric commercial trucks, the FUSO eCanter; and they’ve debuted two futuristic, self-driving, artificially intelligent automobiles at several auto shows.
As noted, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid) finally made it to American shores at the end of 2017, having previously only been sold overseas. Some may find it surprising but the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV compares well with the new Kia Niro PHEV. Kia Motors has been dishing out alternative fuel vehicles for years now, so it’s definitely saying something when the two match up fairly well.
Now with the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance being recognized for their global sales, primarily in China, the U.S., and France, the alliance will be making much larger waves as 2018 moves forward and we near closer to 2022.
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