If the prospect of visiting the eerie forest of Romania is a little too scary for you, think of it as another Twilight movie. Scarier still? Thought so. This is why I’ve prepared 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, so if Romania is not your cup of blood, click away!
Now. For those thick-skinned of you who are on for the trip. Romania is the country of Dacia. Dacias everywhere… But who is Dacia I hear some of you ask…
Well. Dacia is the main Romanian car manufacturer (with Aro) and always had close links with French manufacturer Renault, and in 1999 Renault bought Dacia, to make it their low-cost center.
The first completely new model to be launched by Dacia was the 5,000 euros ($6,700) car, which ended up being more like the 6,500 euros ($8,700) car – but still a bargain for its size – aka the Dacia Logan. What happened after the launch is interesting. First, it shot straight to the top of the ranking in Romania, grabbing no less than 33 percent of the market in September 2004 for its first month, and improving to a high of 44 percent in May 2006. Yes that’s 44 percent for a single model.
You can try searching, no other model dominates the sales that much in any other country in the world. Go on, search the 160 countries in my blog…
Then, the success was such that Renault had to rethink its original decision to not make the model available in Western Europe. ‘Grey ‘ imports reportedly started occurring and Renault finally launched the Dacia Logan in France among other countries in 2005 within Renault dealerships but in a separate area, without TV advertising, and to great success: it reached #15 in France in November that year, and went on to peak at #7 in December 2007.
Today, the Dacia Logan has managed 86 consecutive months atop the Romanian ranking and still commands close to 27 percent of the market 7 years after its original launch. Impressive.
But Dacia doesn’t just manufacture the Logan. In 2008 a hatchback based on the Logan was launched: the Dacia Sandero. Interestingly, the Sandero has not been met with great success in its native country: it struggles to get into the Top 10 but ranked #7 in October with 223 sales sales and 2.8 percent share. It is #10 year-to-date.
Conversely, the Sandero has been a clear success in France. It reached an outstanding 2nd place in March 2010, ahead of all Renault models. It also is doing really well in Brazil, where it is sold as the Renault Sandero and regularly ranking within the Top 10 in a very vigorous market.
Next in 2010, Dacia launched the Duster, a crossover SUV. The Duster does really well in Romania, ranking on the podium for most of 2011 and #3 at 3.9 percent market share in October. In France too: The Dacia Duster even ranked #2 there for one week in April this year. And in Brazil where it just launched with a Renault badge, it is already knocking at the Top 20’s door.
The next model to be launched by Dacia is the MPV Lodgy which will be presented at the Geneva Motorshow next March. It will be interesting to see where it fits in the Dacia range success-wise.
Now of course there are not just Dacias sold in Romania. Other very successful models include the Skoda Octavia, very strong at #2 with 6.6 percent share in October…
The Renault Symbol, a Clio sedan only sold in Eastern Europe, at #4… Strangely (or not) it kind of looks more like a Dacia Sandero sedan…
…and the new generation Toyota Yaris at #5.
You can see the Full Top 30 best-selling models in Romania in October 2011 here:
Now for the golden nugget: to be a perfect expert in Romanian car sales you need to know that Dacia actually is the ancient name for the region constitutes much of present-day Romania.
There. You. Are. An expert.
Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.