PARIS—Renault-Nissan's sales growth downshifted last year as a collapsing Russian auto market weighed on the French-Japanese alliance's turnover, it said on Thursday.

Overall sales for the partnership--comprising Renault, Nissan and Avtovaz--grew by 0.7% in 2015 to a total of 8.53 million vehicles, compared to a 2.5% increase in 2014.

Renault-Nissan is the world's fourth-largest car maker after Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors and produces one in 10 cars sold across the globe.

The United States, China, France and Japan are the alliance's top markets.

The Renault company alone revved up unit sales growth of 3.3%, while Nissan managed 2.1%, above the global industry average, thanks to record sales in the U.S., China and Europe.

But leading Russian carmaker Avtovaz, taken over by Renault-Nissan in 2014, put the brakes on overall group sales. 

The Russian car market collapsed in 2015, shrinking by 35% as Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and the impact of collapsing oil prices took their toll on the Russian economy, Renault-Nissan said.

Avtovaz, makers of the Lada brand, actually outperformed the overall domestic market, but still suffered a dramatic 31% drop in unit sales to 305,000.

Renault-Nissan drew some consolation from the fact that Avtovaz increased its share of the shrinking Russian car market to 32.3% from the previous year's 30.7%.

There was also weakness in sales in Brazil, the ninth biggest market for Renault-Nissan, where the alliance has a market share of just under 10 percent.

But Renault-Nissan reported progress in sales of zero-emission vehicles, saying it now sells around half of all electric cars worldwide.

The Nissan Leaf model alone has clocked up unit sales of 201,000 since its launch in 2010, making it the world's best-selling electric car, according to Renault-Nissan.

Renault-Nissan is a partnership based on cross-shareholdings between the Renault and Nissan companies. Alliance chief is Carlos Ghosn, who is also chief executive officer of both Renault and Nissan.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016