Europe’s car market may still be in the dumps, but our favorite maker of plucky Romanian low-cost transportation is doing just fine, thank you very much.
French business paper La Tribune reports that Dacia is having a strong 2013, with registrations up 17.7 percent in the first 5 months of the year. In Western Europe alone, that number is said to be 21 percent.
The success of Renault’s low-cost brand is a lone bright spot in a rapidly eroding new car market. But Renault also has to contend with falling sales of the Renault brand itself: in France, sales of the “diamond brand” (as its known) plunged nearly 15 percent through May of this year, while Dacia was up 18 percent.
The fear that Dacia is cannibalizing Renault sales seems to be coming true, even in Renault’s home market. Why buy a Scenic when the Duster exists (and is arguably cooler in the eyes of European buyers, since its a crossover, not a minivan)? Why pay more for a Clio when a Sandero will do the same thing? Skoda buyers may be tempted to opt for the more premium VW badge when making their purchasing decision, but Renault has no such cachet.
But then, a little cannibalizing beats eating dust.