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Renault-Nissan deliveries up 10 percent in 2011

By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - The Renault-Nissan alliance's global vehicle sales rose 10 percent last year as Nissan benefited from a U.S. auto market rebound and buoyant Chinese demand.

Combined deliveries by Nissan Motor Co , Renault SA of France and Russian partner AvtoVAZ rose to 8.03 million vehicles, Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Tuesday at the Detroit auto show.

Nissan deliveries jumped 14 percent to 4.67 million cars and light trucks, while Renault's sales rose 4.6 percent to 2.72 million. AvtoVAZ, in which the French automaker holds a 25 percent stake, recorded 630,000 sales.

The alliance gave no further details of its full-year sales performance, but Ghosn said in Detroit that Nissan had outperformed the growth of all major markets. Passenger car sales rose 8.9 percent in the United States last year and about 10 percent in China.

Chinese auto market growth may slow in 2012, Ghosn said, while U.S. demand increases 5-8 percent and Europe goes into a steeper market decline of 3-5 percent, after contracting about 1 percent in 2011.

"What we're seeing is a recession coming in Europe in 2012," he said during a conference on the sidelines of the auto show.

Nissan has said it still expects to increase European sales this year and further increase its U.S. market share, boosted by a series of model launches.

Ghosn, who heads both Nissan and parent Renault, said the sales gain was achieved "despite an unusually harsh year" that included a tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand, economic uncertainty in the euro zone and a strong yen that hurt Japanese exports.

(Additional reporting by James Regan in Paris and Laurence Frost in Detroit, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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