Call it the Mitsubishi effect.
Carlos Ghosn's Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance leapfrogged Volkswagen Group and Toyota Motor to become the world's top-selling automaker in 2017 — and the 2016 acquisition of a controlling stake in Mitsubishi made all the difference.
Without Mitsubishi's 2017 sales of 1.03 million units, the French-Japanese alliance would have been No. 3. But add Mitsubishi's cool million to Nissan Motor's record 5.82 million sales and Renault's 3.76 million and the alliance total comes to 10.61 million light vehicles.
That bested 10.53 million at VW Group, 2016's top seller, which also includes the Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche brands.
Toyota Motor, which held the No. 2 spot in 2016, posted group sales of 10.2 million vehicles last year, excluding its Hino Motors heavy trucks.