Dacia in resolute antithesis of the electric car

VSIt could be a Romanian village resisting the European empire, which is piloted more in Brussels than in Paris or Berlin. Dacia froze automotive progress when functions that were really useful to the driver were interrupted and dampened. With ABS and ESP, one Dacia is worth as much as another, loaded with useless technology at 80 km/h. This is the whole concept of the essential car that Louis Schweitzer had long hesitated to run in the West, estimating in 2004 that conquering the developing world was enough for him.

But 7.5 million copies sold later, Dacia is a unique example in the modern auto industry of full strategic and commercial success. Volkswagen, Fiat, PSA, Nissan broke their teeth where Renault valiantly pushed for the development not of a single model, but of a range. One might think that with the electric motor configured as an absolute dogma for tomorrow, the concept will have lived on. This is without taking into account the clientele that acclaims him, all social classes together, which is the intangible sign of success. To the green ayatollahs, Dacia opposes a model of locomotion that is not old-fashioned, minimalist and bankrupt, but, on the contrary, a choice based on cunning, practicality and service provided at an unbeatable price.

I would even be tempted to say that the Romanian car could be more expensive than that, it wouldn’t lessen the ardor of its aficionados. At first, the price advantage represented a 30% differential over the competition, including… the Renault cousins. The strictness of the rules with engines no longer obsolete and the customer enjoying being a little more pampered, the differential was once again 15%. But that doesn’t stop Dacia from having one of the best returns in the sector with an admitted margin of “double digits” by Luca de Meo, managing director of the Renault Group. There’s a good reason for this: the brand doesn’t give any discounts and dealers earn virtually nothing, so they’re content to hand out keys to the queue.

high resale value

What is not misleading is customer loyalty, which is well worth that of much more sophisticated 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 flows easily because demand is so strong that its residual value is about 10 points higher than the average for competing generalist brands.

Suddenly, Dacia refines product positioning and invents a new logo proudly displayed on an increasingly better-designed bodywork. Gone is the thin side of the dowdy Logan of the early days, a great looking Duster or future 2024 Bigster. “Design is a free extra, so let’s take advantage of it. Some of our customers are able to buy more expensive cars, but 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 of four models (Sandero, Duster, Jogger, Spring), which are exempt from SUVs in France.

They will be powered by gasoline and manufactured in the Pitesti factories in Romania and Tangier in Morocco, with maximum profitability. Only the small Spring arrives from China and is totally dedicated to electric cars with infallible logic, since it is in the city that a car of this size and this technique is best expressed. The other models will resist the electric motor and expensive batteries for a long time, until the 2035 deadline. They will use LPG fuel instead of bioethanol as an alternative. However, a light hybridization should show up in the Jogger, but nothing 100% electric in no time.

Dacia thinks it can do the opposite by making the most of it with joy, trusting the driver’s smartphone, for example, to take care of GPS guidance. Tracking excess weight and design will be the main avenues that a prototype of the “Manifesto” presented at the Porte de Versailles will reveal. In particular, for the overall calculation of its environmental impact, it will use an innovative recycled plastic “Starkle”, made of polypropylene. Its speckled black appearance will allow it to be used on body parts, bumpers, for example, without having to paint them. There are no small savings, the ones that Dacia customers rave about, fully achieved by the “essential” nature of your car.

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