TOKYO — The alliance of Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA of France led in global vehicle sales for the first half of this year, the first time it has claimed top rank.
The Nissan-Renault alliance, which includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp., sold 5,268,079 vehicles around the world in January-June.
That was more than Volkswagen AG at 5,155,600, and Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., which said Friday it sold 5,129,000 vehicles in the first half.
Volkswagen, which includes Audi and Lamborghini nameplates in its group, became the world’s top selling automaker last year for the first time.
U.S. rival General Motors Co., which had held that crown for more than seven decades, trailed at fourth place, selling about 4.7 million vehicles in the first half.
Although Volkswagen’s reputation has suffered recently from a huge scandal over cheating on emissions tests, booming sales in China and other markets have helped offset the damage.
Toyota, which makes the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, surpassed General Motors in 2008, but fell behind GM in 2011, when production was hit by a quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. Toyota became No. 1 again, only to be dethroned by Volkswagen.
Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the Renault-Nissan alliance, said the automaker will continue to build on its record sales. Among the models the alliance offers are the X-Trail, Altima and Qashqai, as well as the Leaf electric car.
“We will continue to leverage our significant economies of scale and global market presence to deliver valuable synergies for our member companies this year,” he said.