Dacia in resolute contrast to the electric car

vsIt could be a Romanian village resisting the European empire, one piloted more in Brussels than in Paris or Berlin. Dacia froze the car’s progress as functions that were actually useful to the driver were stopped and muted. With ABS and ESP, a Dacia is worth as much as another, loaded with useless technologies at 80 km/h. This is the whole concept of the essential car that Louis Schweitzer long hesitated to drive in the West, considering in 2004 that the conquest of the developing countries was good enough for him.

But 7.5 million units sold later, Dacia is a unique example in the modern car industry of full strategic and commercial success. Volkswagen, Fiat, PSA, Nissan have broken their teeth where Renault has bravely pushed for the development not of a single model, but of a series. You would think that with the electric motor set up as an absolute dogma for tomorrow, the concept will have lived. This is without regard to the clientele that recognizes it, all social classes combined, which is the intangible sign of success. To the green ayatollahs, Dacia opposes a model of movement that is not old-fashioned, minimalist and grotesque, but on the contrary a choice imbued with cunning, practicality and service provided at an unbeatable price.

One would even be tempted to say that the Romanian car could be more expensive than that, it would not dampen the ardor of its aficionados. For starters, the price advantage represented a 30% difference over the competition, including… the Renault cousins. The standards are tightened with engines that are no longer obsolete and the customer enjoys being a little more pampered, the differential has returned to 15%. But that does not prevent Dacia from having one of the best returns in the sector, with a margin admitted as “double digits” by Luca de Meo, CEO of the Renault group. There’s a good reason for that: the brand doesn’t offer any discounts, and the dealers earn virtually nothing and are therefore content to hand out keys to the queue.

High resale value

What does not cheat is customer loyalty, which is worth a lot for much more exclusive brands. In France, Dacia customers keep their car for an average of eight years and 60% of them buy another one. And the old one floats easily because demand is so great that its residual value is about 10 points higher than the average of competing generalist brands.

Suddenly, Dacia refines its product placement and invents a new logo that is proudly displayed on better and better designed bodywork. Gone is the narrow side of the ungainly Logan of the beginnings, a Duster or the future Bigster from 2024 with a good look. “Design is a free extra, so we want to take advantage of it. Some of our customers have the means to buy more expensive cars, but they want to break a spiral and consume differently”, says Denis Le Vot, head of the brand. At the Mondial de l’Auto in Paris, it will present its range concentrated in four models (Sandero, Duster, Jogger, Spring), free of supply companies in France.

They will be petrol powered and manufactured at the factories in Pitesti in Romania and Tangier in Morocco with maximum profitability. Only the small spring arrives from China and is entirely devoted to electric with infallible logic, since it is in the city that a car of this size and this technology expresses itself best. The other models will resist the electric motor and too expensive batteries for a long time to come, until the deadline in 2035. They will use LPG fuel as an alternative to bioethanol. However, a light hybridization should appear on the Jogger, but no 100% electric before long.

Dacia believes that it can do otherwise by making the most of it cheerfully, for example entrusting the driver’s smartphone with the care of GPS guidance. Tracking excess pounds and design will be the main avenues that a “Manifesto” prototype presented at the Porte de Versailles will reveal. In particular, for the overall calculation of its environmental impact, it will use an innovative “Starkle” recycled plastic, made of polypropylene. Its speckled black appearance makes it possible to use it for body parts, e.g. bumpers without having to paint them. There are no small savings, those that Dacia customers are excited about, completely won over to the “essential” nature of their car.

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