Even many Renault managers viewed the European market launch of the low-cost subsidiary Dacia with suspicion in the late 2000s. However, in recent years the picture has changed. The once cheap Romanian company has big plans for the end of the decade and wants to gradually become electric.
Dacia has been looking at the competition very closely for years. It is analyzed, examined and recreated – can you do something like Dacia? The French make good money with cheap cars, have long avoided electromobility and are not afraid to use the word “cheap” when it comes to their own products. But now a new era begins. Because for a long time things were going well without the electric drive, which caused earnings to shrink for all brands. The first work of the Dacia Spring is electric, but in terms of safety, workmanship or equipment by far the worst model that the Renault subsidiary offers its customers. Gradually, Dacia will also start to electrify its entire portfolio. Many customers have been waiting for the family-friendly Jogger, which is now available at least in a hybrid variant with drive technology from sister brands Nissan and Renault.
Dacia is particularly successful with private customers across Europe and occupies top positions in almost all European countries; in eight countries one is in the top three. “In Germany, Dacia has a five percent share in this sales channel and is the second strongest brand in the private customer business there, if you only look at the market segments in which Dacia is represented,” explains Thilo Schmidt, a man who has a deep knowledge of the Renault Group, which he joined 18 years ago and has led the brand since early 2022. But these very important private customers are also increasingly looking for electrified vehicles in the lower price segments. Dacia has reinvented itself in recent months. New models will follow the new brand identity – in the long term also with a plug. The upcoming new products include the 4.60 meter long C-segment SUV Bigster, which will be presented as a production vehicle on the CMF-B platform in autumn, and a second model that has not yet been announced, which is also likely to be in the C-segment will be. Luca de Meo, CEO of the Renault brand group, recently issued a new target for the profit margin, which should increase from 10 to 15 percent. At the same time, the international brand claim is to be upgraded from “Low Cost” to “Value for Money”.
Dacia is currently in an important transformation phase, because even if they have been successful in the cheap segment for 15 years, the busy French cannot circumvent the laws of the market – neither in Europe nor on other world markets, where the individual models are sometimes sold under the Renault label Tobe offered. Dacia’s new brand image is accompanied by a slight refreshment of the product range – along with a new logo and uniform vehicle fronts to sharpen the brand image. This is how the models Spring, Sandero, Jogger and Duster shine with identical grill and light unit. The end of combustion engines in 2035, Euro7 and new crash regulations make it particularly difficult for cheap cars and lower segments.
Despite this, Dacia is among the car brands that are likely to maintain sales of internal combustion engine vehicles until 2035; if only because many models, for example in Africa or South America, are still offered as pure combustion engines. Apart from the individual actor Spring, the switch to electrified models is only slow. The Spring is a European version of the Asian Renault City K-ZE, manufactured by Chinese supplier Dongfeng. In addition to the basic model with 33 kW / 45 hp and its 27 kWh battery pack, the Spring 65 was presented at the beginning of the year, which still has an output of 48 kW / 65 hp and also has a range of 220 kilometers. The Jogger as a hybrid is the first, the new Duster, which will be launched at the end of the year, will be next. There is also no doubt that the new flagship of the brand, called Bigster, will be offered with a hybrid drive at the market launch. It should build on the success of the Sandero in the inexpensive SUV middle class. Since 2008, 2.6 million vehicles have been sold from the affordable compact class model in its three model generations. The Dacia Sandero is available in 44 countries around the world, with France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain doing particularly well.
Since the brand’s restart in 2007, Dacia has made it its task to offer the cheapest model in the respective class with every new vehicle. It is no longer the case that most customers opt for the nakedly equipped basic model, as they did with the debut Dacia Logan. On the one hand, many comfort and safety features have now also become standard in the Dacia models; on the other hand, more and more customers are opting for the better equipped versions with corresponding comfort details. The Stepway now accounts for 66 percent of Sandero sales internationally, and 63 percent in Germany. Dacia is more committed than other brands to its abstinence when it comes to electric drives. If you don’t want to be satisfied with the normal petrol models with 49 kW / 65 PS or 67 kW / 90 PS, you may be interested in another alternative drive. Almost half of all Dacia Sandero vehicles last year were equipped with a bivalent LPG drive, which significantly reduces operating costs and, thanks to the two tanks, enables a range of up to 1,000 kilometers without refueling.
It’s not just the competition that has been taking a close look at Dacia for years; the French are also looking to international competition in order to be able to play in higher price segments in the future. In focus: in particular the Volkswagen subsidiary Skoda, which has long been more than a cheap Czech car and is perceived by many customers as the true Volkswagen. And here, too, the entry into electromobility with the Enyaq worked out splendidly, while Skoda continues to be rare on both worlds: combustion engine and electric. And what it looks like when Dacia dreams can be seen in the autumn with the concept study of the Manifesto.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.