Toyota and VW Group pipped by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi as the world's largest car manufacturer

New Jaguar cars await delivery near the company's Castle Bromwich plant, Birmingham.

Last year saw Toyota knocked off its pedestal as the world's largest car manufacturer by the mighty Volkswagen Group, which defied the diesel scandal to sell more cars than any other in 2016.

But 2017's figures have seen another giant rise to the top – the newly formed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Formerly the Renault-Nissan Alliance, the Japanese-French conglomerate acquired Mitsubishi amidst the brand's struggles with its own emissions scandal.

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The group now encompasses ten brands including Dacia, Datsun, Infiniti, and Renault Samsung Motors. Combined figures from across those brands saw the firm sell 10.6m passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2017 – leading it to claim it's the "number one automotive group worldwide".

While the VW Group claims its figure of 10.7m vehicles should see it named the biggest of all for a second year, it includes so-called heavy vehicles – big trucks and buses which do not account towards passenger vehicle sales.

The figures become trickier to analyse from country to country, with different areas having different definitions of heavy vehicles. For example, a pickup truck would be ranked as a light truck – but the market sector is gaining popularity as private transport.

Regardless, it would appear the newly formed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was the largest manufacturer of passenger vehicles in 2017.

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