Renault’s finance unit, RCI Banque, grew profits to over €1bn in 2017, up 23% from 2016.

New finance business grew by 15%, totalling €20.6bn (£18bn).

Europe saw 9.4% growth in new contracts, and reached a penetration rate of 43.3% across the group’s vehicles (2016: 41.5%).

Used vehicle financing registered a 15.7% growth in new business, totalling 320,000 contracts. Volumes for RCI Banque’s services business expanded 27.5% to 4.4m contracts.

RCI Banque also said it was looking to grow its mobility operations in the future. In 2017, the company acquired taxi fleet management firm Class & Co and private hire reservation company Marcel. It also became relaunched sales of Karhoo, another mobility reservation business.

Across the wider Renault group, revenues grew 14.7% to €58.7bn, pushing profits up 17% to €3.8bn.

In the Renault-Nissan alliance, Renault accounted for around 38% of revenues and 43% of profits.

Following release of the results, Renault’s board of directors recommended that chief executive and chairman Carlos Ghosn – who also leads the Renault-Nissan alliance that he created – stay at the helm of the group for another four years.

The board encouraged Ghosn to take steps to drive the 2022 business plan to completion, oversee a plan for an orderly succession after his departure, and make the alliance with Nissan “irreversible”. The alliance has recently announced a $1bn (£710m, €800m) venture fund to invest in vehicle innovation over the next five years.

The board also appointed Thierry Bolloré to the new position of chief operating officer, effective next week. Bolloré has been promoted from chief competitive officer.

On the group results, Ghosn said: “2017 was another record year for Groupe Renault. The commercial and financial results are the outcome of our strategy deployed over the past years and the efforts of all the group’s employees.

“With this performance, and the implementation of our new strategic plan ‘Drive The Future’, we are confident in our ability to face the current and future challenges of the automotive industry.”