Calendar-year sales increased about 1% from 2011, with strong growth in emerging markets and the US, compensating for the protracted European slowdown. 2012 was the fourth straight year of sales growth for the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Renault group sold 2,550,286 units worldwide in 2012, down 6.3% from 2011. Renault group sales increased 9.1% outside Europe, thanks in part to strong growth in Brazil, Russia, and Algeria. Sales declined 18% in Europe as car sales throughout the continent dropped 8.6%.
Nissan sold 4,940,133 units, up 5.8%, setting a new calendar year record. Nissan has two markets each exceeding 1 million units: China and the United States.
AVTOVAZ sold 610,891 vehicles, down 5.5% from 2011 as a major Russian incentive program came to an end. In December, the Renault-Nissan Alliance created a joint venture to accelerate its market offensive in Russia where the Alliance sells one in three cars nationwide.
“2012 was a challenging year due to the continued decline in Renault’s historic core market of western Europe and due to political tension in China, Nissan’s top market worldwide,” said Renault-Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Thanks to the American rebound and strong demand in emerging markets, we maintained our market share and are very well positioned in global growth markets.”
Renault’s group sales outside of Europe in 2012 set a record, climbing 9.1% to 1,279,598 units, thanks to the launch of new products and the company’s aggressive efforts to expand its strategic markets, particularly Brazil, Russia and India.
2012 marked the first time that Renault group, which encompasses the Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung Motors brands, generated more than half its sales outside Europe. Group sales outside of Europe accounted for 50.2% of the total in 2012, up 7.1 percentage points from 43.1% in the previous year.
Renault’s top markets worldwide are France, Brazil and Russia. Sales in Brazil surged 24.3% to a record 241,594 units with record market share of 6.6%, thanks in part to the launch of the popular Duster sports utility vehicle and the continued success of the remodeled Sandero hatchback. Renault’s sales in Russia climbed 22.7% to a record 189,852 units with record market share of 6.5%. Renault is the third most popular brand in Russia, thanks to strong demand for the mid-sized Mégane, Fluence sedan and Duster.
Despite growth in emerging economies, Renault’s total group sales decreased 6.3% to 2,550,286 units due to the prolonged sales slump in Europe. Excluding Russia, Renault group’s European sales declined 18% to 1,270,688 units as the overall auto market in the European Union tumbled to its lowest level in almost 17 years.
Renault remained the number one passenger car maker in France, with sales of the Twingo mini-vehicle, Mégane and Scenic multi-purpose van all leaders in their segments. It also remained Europe’s light commercial vehicles (LCV) leader for the fifteenth straight year with a market share of 15.5%.
In terms of sales by brand, Renault posted sales of 2,124,773 units, down 6% compared with the previous year. Renault sales accounted for 83% of group sales in 2012. Sales of Dacia rose 4.8% to a record 359,822 units thanks to the launch of new models including the Lodgy multi-purpose van and Dokker, the first light-commercial vehicle from the brand, as well as the remodeled Sandero hatchbackand Logan sedan.
Sales at Renault Samsung Motors in Korea fell 45.1% as the company began to implement a major corporate restructuring plan, including an overhaul of its product lineup and retail strategy.
Nissan posted record global sales of 4.94 million units in 2012, up 5.8% from 2011.
In Japan, Nissan’s sales rose 11.6% to 659,756 units. The new Note hatchback, NV350 Caravan and Serena minivan contributed to the sales increase. Mini-vehicles grew 5.4% to 153,335 units, a record for a calendar year.
Overseas sales rose 4.9% to a record 4,280,377 units despite a drop in sales in China, Nissan’s largest market.During calendar year 2012, Nissan’s sales in China totaled 1.18 million units, in line with the revised sales forecast issued in November. While Nissan and all Japanese automakers felt the sales impact of a territorial dispute, Nissan’s showroom traffic in China has normalized and is exceeding last year’s level.
In the US, Nissan reported record sales of 1,141,656 units for Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles, up 9.5% compared with 2011. Nissan brand sales increased 8.2% year-on-year to a record 1,021,779 units thanks to strong demand for the new Altima sedan, Rogue crossover and Versa compact car. Nissan’s total market share in the US was 7.9%.
In 2012, five out of the top ten vehicles sold in Mexico were Nissan, as the company posted both record sales and market share. Sales climbed 9.3% to 245,634 units while market share reached 24.9%.
In Brazil, where Nissan plans to build its first plant in Resende in 2014, Nissan sold a record 104,711 units, up 56% compared with the previous year. Nissan was Brazil’s fastest-growing brand for the third straight year. The company’s market share reached 2.9%, up 0.9 percentage points.
In Europe, Nissan posted a record market share thanks to strong sales of the Qashqai and Juke crossovers. Although sales fell 2.4% to 678,697 units amid the overall downturn in the market, Nissan’s market share edged up 0.1 percentage point to a record 3.9%.
Sales in the UK rose 10% to a record 118,211 units while market share rose 0.3 percentage points to 5.2%, also a record. In Russia, Nissan’s top market in Europe, sales rose 11.7% to 162,956 units. Market share stood at 5.6%.
The Alliance’s partner in Russia, AVTOVAZ, sold 610,891 units globally, down 5.5% from 2011. In Russia alone, AVTOVAZ, owner of the iconic brand Lada, sold 544,309 units, down 7.3% year-on-year following the end of a special national incentive program. With AVTOVAZ, Renault-Nissan already sells more than one in three cars in Russia and aims to have a market share of at least 40%.
In December, the Renault-Nissan Alliance created a joint venture and became a controlling shareholder for AVTOVAZ, Russia’s largest car company. With ongoing investments in technology and manufacturing complexes throughout Russia, Renault-Nissan and AVTOVAZ will have a Russian capacity of at least 1.7 million cars per year starting in 2016.
The manufacturing complex in Togliatti is now home to one of the largest platform-sharing programs in the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The site – one of the world’s largest car plants — already produces the LADA Largus. Production of the new Nissan Almera began last year and will be fully ramped up in 2013. Production will soon span five models across three brands – LADA, Renault and Nissan. Investments in this project will total about €400 million.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the only automaker with a wide range of 100% electric vehicles (EVs) which can be charged with purely renewable energy.
In 2012, global sales of all zero-emission vehicles across the Alliance were 43,829 units, up 83.8% from 2011 as Nissan LEAF sales increased worldwide and Renault launched two more EVs. The Alliance’s worldwide zero-emission market share stood at 64%, excluding Twizy, Renault’s two-seater urban commuter.
Since sales began in December 2010 to the end of 2012, the Alliance sold 67,723 zero-emission vehicles globally.
The Nissan LEAF hatchback is by far the world’s best-selling zero-emission car. In 2012, Nissan sold 26,976 units globally, an increase of 22% from 2011. Cumulative sales of Nissan LEAF reached 49,117 units since its launch in December 2010.
In 2012, Renault sold 16,853 zero-emission vehicles. Since the debut of the Kangoo Z.E. small van in October 2011, Renault has sold 18,606 zero-emission vehicles cumulatively.
In addition to the Kangoo Z.E., named International Van of the Year 2012, and Twizy, Renault also sells the Fluence Z.E., an all-electric sedan, based on the conventional Fluence sedan, and the subcompact zero-emission ZOE.