Dacia still relies on thermals, less on low cost
by Gilles Guillaume
LE BOURGET (Seine-Saint-Denis) (Reuters) – Keeping internal combustion engines available for as long as possible for motorists hesitant to switch to electric, Dacia offers a safety net to the diamond group in its determined bet on the battery-powered vehicle, the management director of Renault’s historic low-cost brand to Reuters.
Unlike the Diamond brand, which will go all-electric by 2030, the pragmatic Dacia reserves the option of not taking the plunge until 2035, the year combustion engines were banned in Europe.
“To each their own role, Renault will push to become the champion of electric cars, it’s full of risks,” said Denis Le Vot, Dacia general manager, during a presentation at Le Bourget. “It is also why Dacia exists.
The Dacia range, which currently only has an electric model, continues to rely mainly on small petrol engines and on LPG – using gas from the Mediterranean, not Russia – which accounts for a third of Mark sales. But even at a slower pace, electrification is gaining ground, with a first hybrid in 2023 and as many as 12% of orders for the little electric Spring.
The Renault group, which has pioneered battery-powered vehicles alongside Nissan over the past decade, has been dethroned by newcomers like Tesla. To try to get back on track, it will present a plan in the fall to create a unit for electricity and another for heat engines.
The latter will notably include the engine plant in Pitesti (Romania), the birthplace of Dacia, as well as the related engineering and R&D on Romanian soil.
Looking back to the Logan years, when Renault set up a low-cost design and production system from 2004 to offer a new car for less than 10,000 euros, Dacia also wants to continue its move into the upper price range.
Supported by the general inflation of car prices, the brand also sees the average price of its vehicles rising inexorably.
“Nevertheless, we remain the cheapest car on the market,” specifies Denis Le Vot. “The more expensive the cars are, the more customers come to us to find the best value for money.”
Dacia’s rise into the upscale market, one of the pillars of Renault CEO Luca de Meo’s turnaround strategy, is supported by a modernized visual identity, including a geometric logo revolution, the introduction of new trim levels and the impending arrival of a new Duster, a the brand’s bestseller in 2024, followed by a larger Bigster in 2025.
Like the Duster, the Bigster, the brand’s first compact silhouette, will be based on the small Clio platform, one of Dacia’s recipes for reducing the weight and cost of all its cars.
The entire range with its new design will be brought together for the first time at the Paris Motor Show – renamed Paris Automotive Week, bringing together under the same banner the semi-annual Paris gathering of manufacturers and equipment suppliers, Equip Auto.
The event will take place from October 17th to 23rd, with one of the highlights being a ‘summit meeting’ on October 18th, which will be attended by several industry leaders. (
(Gilles Guillaume, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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