There are rumours that, this year, the Renault-Nissan Alliance may become the biggest car manufacturer in the world.
This is partly due to the company’s joint ventures in China and South America, and also down to its takeover of Mitsubishi earlier this year. But at the mid-year point, Volkswagen was still holding on to top spot globally. Just.
Here, then, are the world’s top 10 car manufacturers, based on how many cars they’d sold by the middle of this year.
1 – Volkswagen Group
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 5,092,247
Diesel-gate scandal aside, the German powerhouse continues to hold top spot in the global car market, thanks in no small part to its massive presence in the Chinese market, where diesel emissions are a secondary concern. The increasing global popularity of the Audi brand has also helped it along.
2 – Renault-Nissan
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 4,650,954
Now it has taken over Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan is on a roll, with end-of-year registrations tipped to be on a par with those of Volkswagen. The company has multiple global joint ventures, including some in rapidly developing markets in South America, China and Thailand.
3 - Toyota
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 4,647,521
Toyota is always a top three finisher in the sales race, but it doesn’t chase volume at the expense of profit. As well as strong domestic, US and European sales, it’s by far the most successful brand in sub-Saharan Africa, Thailand and Australasia.
4 – General Motors
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 3,878,426
Not long ago, GM was the world’s biggest car maker. But now it’s way behind the curve, a situation amplified by its sale of the Vauxhall-Opel brands to PSA earlier this year. GM continues to be the most popular domestic manufacturer in the USA, while the Chevrolet and Buick brands are hugely popular in China. Chevrolet also dominates the Russian market.
5 – Ford
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 3,092,299
The Blue Oval’s ‘One Ford’ business policy is one that has seen its model range simplified over the past few years, and that has seen some small sales declines in markets where once dominant models have become below class average (examples being the Ka and EcoSport). But its economic performance is the most profitable it has been in years.
6 – Hyundai-Kia
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 3,014,112
Hyundai-Kia has seen sales drop slightly in 2017, a situation it puts down to tensions between China and South Korea, which have impacted its sales in the Chinese market. Nonetheless, it continues to see major growth in Europe, especially through the Kia brand.
7 – Honda
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 2,509,365
Honda holds a strong position in Europe, Japan and the USA, all of which are profitable markets for high-end cars. Although its five million units on average per year have remained static for years, the brand had seen a seven per cent uplift in global sales by the middle of the year.
8 – FCA
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 2,415,485
FCA stands for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and also incorporates the Jeep, Lancia, Dodge, Alfa Romeo, RAM Trucks and Maserati brands. A decline in sales of traditional Chrysler models has been offset by an uplift in smaller Fiat and Jeep models in 2017.
9 – PSA
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 1,957,180
10 – Daimler
Sales Jan-Jun 2017: 1,340,597
Its sales may seem small fry compared to some of biggest hitters in this list, but Daimler chooses its markets carefully. As the parent brand of Mercedes-Benz, AMG and Smart, the company chooses its sales markets carefully, and most of all profitably. However, it has seen a huge spike in registrations this year, knocking rival BMW out of the top 10 after a strong Europe-led fleet sales campaign.