Carlos Ghosn predicts that the Renault-Nissan alliance – including recent acquisition Mitsubishi – could overtake Toyota and Volkswagen Group to become the global market leader this year, according to a report by Automotive News Europe.

“We have been among the top three carmakers since January in sales volume, and we expect to be in the top spot by midyear, although this was not our goal,” Ghosn told shareholders at an annual meeting last week. Through the first four months of 2017, Renault-Nissan posted sales of 3.02 million vehicles, while Toyota sold 3.06 million vehicles, and VW Group sold 3.32 million vehicles, according to JATO Dynamics.

It is uncertain whether or not the Renault-Nissan alliance can rise to the top spot this year, said JATO Dynamics global automotive analyst Felipe Munoz. He does, however, rank Renault-Nissan ahead of Toyota and VW Group for future growth. “The alliance is pointing in the right direction in many ways. They are managing their brands very well. Where Renault is weak, Nissan is strong, and vice versa,” he said.

Through April, the alliance’s global sales posted an increase of 8% year-on-year, while Toyota gained 6% and VW Group dropped 1%. Amongst the alliance’s individual brands, Nissan gained 7%, Renault gained 10%, Mitsubishi gained 5%, while Dacia gained 7%, according to JATO Dynamics. Infiniti grew 24%, while Renault sub-brand Samsung increased 38%, though Datsun saw a decrease of 2%.

The Renault-Nissan alliance has the largest global market share in the SUV segment with 12%, according to JATO Dynamics, driven by the Nissan X-Trail. Meanwhile the alliance also leads the EV market with the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf, though the VW Group remains formidable in Europe, where it is sales leader, and in China, its largest market, says Munoz.

Sales volume figures don’t just look good with shareholders; the greater scale often improves a company’s leverage with parts suppliers, while costs of introducing new models can also be spread more widely.

“If we can go to our suppliers and say, we are no longer asking for 100,000 or 200,000 parts, but we are asking for 400,000 parts because we are bringing in the AvtoVAZ volume. The prices that we get are meaningfully different on what is still 70 percent of the cost of a car,” said Jeremie Papin, an alliance executive responsible for financial and corporate strategy and business development.