Trading places: Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance leads World’s Largest Automakers in Q1/18

Did I mention that World’s Largest Automakers 2018 will be a tight race? The first quarter ended with the  Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in the lead, followed by Volkswagen, and Toyota. Last month had Toyota in the top spot, now it is in place 3. Expect the trading of places to continue throughout the year – the distances between the world’s top 3 automakers are extremely tight.

The top-running Alliance is boosted by a 19% YOY increase of Mitsubishi, and with Nissan behind by 5%, the help is welcome. Volkswagen ploughs ahead resolutely, in March alone in delivered more than a million units worldwide. Toyota fell behind a bit, but it usually picks up the pace as the year goes on.

Note: This analysis attempts to track 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.

At the same time, data reported by automakers are becoming increasingly hard to compare.

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