Video interview – Dacia’s entire electrification program by its managing director!

Maxime Fontanier went to ask Denis Le Vot questions about electrification, the sustainability of a low-cost offer where Dacias are made and the future of the Manifesto concept. Incorporating the brand into a more global policy for the Renault group, the managing director responded bluntly. His office: The remodeled Dacia Spring.

More than 30 years of career in the Renault group

Managing Director of the Dacia brand since January 1, 2021, Denis Le Vot joined the Renault sales department in 1990 after studying at the École des Mines in Paris. During his career, he represented Losange in different parts of the world, from Russia to Turkey, from G9 Europe to Eurasia.

Browsing the Alliance brands, he knows too. In 2018, he was CEO and Chairman of the Management Committee of Nissan North America. In addition to his current role at Dacia, he is a member of the board of directors of the Renault group.

This rich career at the casa grande in diversified management positions confers a very particular legitimacy on the head of the Romanian-born brand to answer questions from Automobile Propre readers and the public that frequents our YouTube channel.

The electrification of the Dacia range

Most of the 78 questions asked by our followers concerned the electrification of the Dacia range. This way : ” When will there be an electric family compact? » ; ” Will there be a replacement for the electrified Logan with a tailgate? » ; ” Can you tell us more about future electric vehicles planned on the line? » ; ” Do you want to develop Spring with more autonomy? “.

Denis Le Vot first highlighted the group’s strategy in which ” each brand is invested with a role “. Renault, for example, is becoming the leader in electricity in Europe “.

And Dacia? ” Its credo is to offer essential cars, with choice of content and therefore to have very affordable models. “. In the new market, cars always cost more.” More and more customers buy Dacias for this reason “, assured the DG.

the example of spring

Spring is exactly a Dacia. It is a car that measures 3.70 m, weighs 970 kg, does not exceed 125 km/h, and is an electric car that has only 300 km of autonomy. It can be said that this is not good. But it’s a car worth less than 20,000 euros. nobody does that “explained Denis Le Vot.

We are super proud to offer electric mobility to as many people as possible. And that’s exactly Dacia. Dacia makes choices and enters the market when it has something to offer that is different and unique in its essentiality. “, he deciphered.

This is how Dacia intends to develop its traction battery models, at its own pace, recovering the group’s technologies to electrify its cars. ” Next year we will see a hybrid in Jogger “, promised Maxime Fontanier the CEO of the brand with the new DC logo.

An electric compact based on Zoé?

Shall we hurry to be the first to offer electric cars with 600 km of autonomy and a full charge in 17 minutes on the road? The answer is no ! said Denis Le Vot, referring to 2036 for a fully connected range.

Our journalist well imagined Dacia recovering ” the already well-undervalued base of the Renault Zoé to create an essential vehicle, with lower manufacturing costs, that would meet the demand for an electric compact “. A scenario that seems not to have been maintained by a technological choice: ” Dacia is now developing its range on the CMF-B platform that served as the basis for the Sandero 3 launched 18 months ago. “.

And this on a global level. Logan, Jogger, Duster and the future Bigster are gradually embracing it. ” The generation after us is indeed making the electrification issue “, However, reported the interlocutor of Maxime Fontanier.

Dacia’s luxury move

Readers of Automobile Propre are concerned about the luxury movement seen at Dacia, while at the same time they are very comfortable with the choice of purchasing a low-cost car. They fear brand gentrification, as in other groups. So, for example, Skoda and Seat at Volkswagen. ” Dacia remains Dacia “, wanted to reassure Denis Le Vot.

What is the cheapest car in each range? is a Dacia. What is the cheapest electric on the market? it’s a dacia “, remembered.

We have the two customers looking for the cheapest car – the low-cost part of Dacia, but which is being overtaken by customers who say ‘Enough, the cars are too expensive, now let’s make choices, we’re going to buy something simple, that works. well. And so they choose Dacias “, he objected.

Sandero and Jogger as an example

Sandero, whose 4,000-euro more expensive Stepway declination was in the minority a few years ago, now accounts for 75% of sales. Same observation with Jogger, of which 85% of the copies are acquired” in the highest mix with all equipment “.

How to explain this inversion? ” In competition, a 7-seater vehicle costs around 25,000 euros. Our first prize is 16,000 euros. Most customers say to themselves, ‘But at this price, I’ll take the 7 seats, the Wi-Fi, the phone replication, the air conditioning, I’ll take it all. “, compared Denis Le Vot.

We’re not really going up in price. The access price is still extremely competitive compared to the competition, but we are in the process of increasing the mix “, he justified.

Read too
DACIA Spring Test: at this price, it will be a success!

Overseas production…

In the questions you sent us, the issue of the manufacture of the brand’s models came up several times. Today, ” 90% of Dacias such as Sanderos, Joggers, Dusters, etc. are manufactured in the same basin as the Renaults, as they are cars derived from Renault platforms, with the same suppliers, the same component factories “.

That’s why they are largely assembled in Romania and Morocco today. For Spring it’s different, because it already existed. The Renault group hesitated, so they decided to import it to France to ” give access to electric mobility to as many people as possible, bringing it from China where it is manufactured “.

A scenario” very Dacia and that is good for the development of the electric market “, underlined the brand’s CEO.

…and the carbon footprint

What about spring’s carbon footprint imported from China? ” Full chain carbonation is so complex to calculate. I still think that a 970 kg small car with a small battery like ours, in general carbonation, although it takes the boat, is not necessarily the worst car on the market. “, estimated Denis Le Vot.

Would it be possible to repatriate the activity to Europe or France? ” We ask ourselves the question every day, for the future. But you just need to understand that moving a factory is hard enough, and it doesn’t solve the problem. The factory is 6% of the value of the car. There are hundreds of suppliers around that produce the parts. “, begged.

For illustration: It would be a bit like buying a refrigerator with spare parts and getting the parts from all over the world to assemble it at home. From a transport and CO2 point of view, it is better to buy a refrigerator imported from Asia, because it is difficult to get all the suppliers to move “.

Asia’s Dependence on Batteries

Defending our readers, Maxime Fontanier insisted on evoking Asia’s dependence on battery cell manufacturing. His interlocutor invited the “ see the question as a whole “, and to discuss with” the entire Renault group and the eponymous brand in particular.

The Losange who wants to become an electric champion, even outside France, many issues are discussed internally: ” Where do I make the batteries? Battery technology? Engine technology? Bring the entire electric car ecosystem back to France? Which has a very clear role in the positioning that the Renault brand is taking “.

And for Dacia?

Dacia is a kind of insurance, or Renault’s spare wheel. And it is important for the balance of a group. If electrification happens very quickly on the market, so much the better, Renault will be there. But if it happens a little slower, because of the price of cars, because of the economic crisis, then Dacia is there with a supporting role. The 2 respond to each other. It’s designed, it’s built as a balance of brands “, developed the DG.

When will Dacia be electrified? What types of cells? What will be the choice of technologies? All these questions you ask yourself will be answered by the Renault group’s electrical developments. “, he summarized. ” When the time comes, we will use technologies from the Renault group. Like Dacia, Dacia makes choices “, he reformulated.

Concept Manifest

Many of you appreciated the Manifesto concept, regretting or fearing that it would find a commercial following in Dacia. Maxime Fontanier asked Denis Le Vot about the future of this very attractive minimalist device: “ Competitor of the Citroën Ami, would that make sense at Dacia? “. Amused, his interlocutor soon lowered: ” I promise you, we didn’t ask ourselves that question. “.

Basically, as Dacia is at a crossroads, we came from the low cost car where design was not so important, and now we realize that we have a lot of potential with the CMF-B platform, that we will be able to sell crossovers, C-segment vehicles in Germany in 2 years, we told ourselves that we cannot market ourselves as we always did “, he corrected.

So we redesigned, repainted the house, redid the logo, redid everything. It’s to explain what Dacia is and why we seek essentiality, to show that essentiality can be cool at the same time. We told ourselves that to explain it, we had to do it, and no limit, no pattern, no rule “, he illustrated. ” The competition is open: what will become of the Manifesto? “, he concluded.

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