New Cars for Old Car Prices?
OK, some of us may have heard of the brand Dacia, but who out there has ever driven one or owned one or indeed wants one? Well let’s take a look and see if we are missing out on something.
Founded in Romania in 1966, Dacia originally produced (old model) Renault product under licence from Renault, beginning with the Renault 8, which it renamed “Dacia 1100” and it sold 44,000 of them between 1968 – 1972. The Dacia 1300, a revamped Renault 12 followed and ugly and old fashioned as they may have been, they continued to keep selling and a string of strange eastern block vehicles came and went up until 1999, when Renault acquired Dacia for themselves, although Dacia continues to be very much a Romanian company, with its headquarters and main factories there.
Since being picked up by Renault, Dacia has smartened up its act and is making much more acceptable modern product. Dacia’s current line up is the Logan, Logan MCV, Logan Van, Logan Pick-up, Sandero Super-Mini, Duster SUV and for 2012 the appallingly named “Lodgy” which is built in Tangier Morocco.
Well, if Renault have anything to do with it, we are going to get used to these names as from the turn of the year, they are going to be lined up in your local Renault showroom (assuming you still have one that is).
Its ironic that the relationship with Renault and Dacia, was originally one where Renault was selling its old technology to Dacia to earn an extra buck, yet now, it seems that Renault are going to rely on the brand to pull it out of the mire in the UK, following the closure of around a third of its Renault dealers and a merciless hacking of its UK product range, with household names such as Laguna and Espace, being consigned to the waste bin.
We all know car prices in the UK are constantly rising and even ordinary run of the mill cars have moved more up-market and become more expensive and in the process, its left buyers struggling to afford a new car, or even a late date used one. So what’s needed is a budget product or a ‘smart-buy’ product and that’s where Renault thinks that Dacia will fit the bill.
The Dacia ‘strap-line’ in the UK, is apparently going to be “Shockingly Affordable Prices” and whilst the UK model line-up and prices are due to be announced on June 28th, but its suggested the two launch models, which are the Duster SUV is likely to cost from £9995, whilst the Sandero 5dr Super-Mini is likely to ticket at £6995, which you have to say, looks a pretty attractive offer.
Dacia will be sold through Renault showrooms and they hope that this will give the product immediate credibility and help them avoid the years of being thought of as the “poor-mans product” which Hyundai & Kia endured before some of their product became firstly acceptable, then desirable.
The future for Dacia in the UK is going to depend on us, and whilst we all want the best value for money we can get, we don’t want to be looked on as having bought an awful car because that’s all we could afford, or find ourselves with a car that becomes the butt of everyone’s jokes, just to save a pound or two. We think being badge conscious only applies to the higher end of the car market, but that’s not true, its all the way down and how well Dacia does, will very much depend on how Renault market the product and how quickly they can make it appear a really credible alternative to the product we presently drive. This is going to be a risky time for Renault & Dacia, because if the Dacia gets off on the wrong foot, gets the wrong press or becomes a bit of a joke, it will mean the difference between the product getting on our shopping lists and selling from day 1, or it spending years in the wilderness.
In countries where the product is presently available, Dacia does reasonably well, however the fact that it’s the best selling product in both Romania and Morocco isn’t very significant as it’s made in both of those countries. More significant however is that Dacia became the fourth best selling brand in France in 2010 and indeed for one week in 2011, the Dacia Duster was the overall best selling vehicle in France full stop!
So it’s going to be interesting and maybe there is a touch of irony there somewhere as a brand that Renault used in the 60’s to flog off its old technology to, could now end up being its saviour here in the UK.
For sure, we will be getting our hands on some Dacia product to test and will report back when we’ve done so, but meanwhile If you want to know more about Dacia, you can do so by going to the following website, where you will see a live countdown to the 28th June UK launch date. www.dacia.co.uk