By on July 25, 2013

Dacia_Duster_Laureate_K9K_1

Nearly 9 years ago, a small car from an obscure, nearly-defunct Romanian brand was launched with little fanfare. The Dacia Logan was – and still is – a basic vehicle designed to be sold for very little money and provide honest, basic transportation for emerging markets. Few would have predicted that in nearly a decade of sales, it would spawn Renault’s top-selling nameplate while bringing in profit margins that were once reserved for premium marques.

September 10th (9 years and one day after the introduction of the first Logan) will bring about the launch of an all-new Dacia Duster, currently the top-selling vehicle in Renault’s portfolio. With its low price, solid dynamics and contemporary styling, the Duster has rode the worldwide compact SUV boom to rise to the top of Renault’s sales charts amid critical and consumer acclaim. The fact that North Americans would likely reject such a vehicle as a cheap, nasty car for credit criminals is immaterial. The Duster, along with the rest of Dacia, is helping to keep Renault afloat even though its own lineup is tanking, along with most of Europe’s car market.

Dacia has managed to do what was once thought impossible in the auto industry; sell small cars at a big profit. Dacia’s operating margins are said to be around 9 percent, which puts them on par with some of the better luxury brands in the auto world. By comparison, Renault’s is said to be in the neighborhood of 0.4 percent. By using old technology (that first-world customers would likely consider outdated) that has long been paid off and packaging it well, Dacia is able to make money even at prices far below mainstream auto makers. The fact that their cars are made in low-wage countries like Morocco, Algeria, Brazil and Russia doesn’t hurt either.

Currently, Dacia’s cheapest cars sell for about 8,000 euro, but Dacia is looking to introduce a 5,000 euro car next year, which will likely share technology with Renault-Nissan’s new Datsun line. Dacia’s success is not without controversy, with critics accusing it of everything from cannibalizing Renault sales and outsourcing labor to former colonies at the expense of French jobs. Even though Dacia may be hurting one of France’s domestic darlings, a prolonged economic slump in Europe and falling car sales have put Dacia in an enviable position – one that many auto makers seem eager to emulate.

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59 Comments on “Dacia Gets A New Duster For Its 9th Birthday, As The Low-Cost Boom Continues...”


  • avatar
    Lampredi

    “The fact that their cars are made in low-wage countries like Morocco, Algeria, Brazil and Russia doesn’t hurt either.”

    The fact that Western consumers willingly buy cars made in the two first mentioned countries (along with other similar countries such as Turkey) is a disgrace, though.

    • 0 avatar
      otter

      What do you consider ‘a discgrace’ about buying a car made in Algeria or Morocco, and in what ways do you consider Turkey similar to either?

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredi

        Algeria, Morocco and Turkey are all Islamic countries (Turkey is ostensibly a “secular democracy”, but 99 % or so of its population consists of Muslims, so it is indeed an Islamic country).

        • 0 avatar

          Does this mean atheists shouldn’t buy American cars?

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            That would be a pretty moronic inference.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            Can’t resist.

            What’s the difference between you, because of your belief structure, not wanting to buy a car made by Muslims, and an atheist, because of their belief structure, not wanting to buy a car made by folks of whatever other religious persuasion?

            I have no horse in this race, but watching you present your views as self-evident, and then not understanding why others might be put off by such, is a bit rich.

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            “What’s the difference between you, because of your belief structure, not wanting to buy a car made by Muslims, and an atheist, because of their belief structure, not wanting to buy a car made by folks of whatever other religious persuasion?”

            The issue is the *uniqueness of Islam* compared to “whatever other religious persuasion” we might bring to the discussion.

            “watching you present your views as self-evident”

            Well, I simply assume that post-9/11 the general level of knowledge about Islam is sufficient for people to follow my line of thinking. People normally don’t ask you to elaborate when you tell them that you reject, say, fascism, Nazism or communism, so there’s no good reason they should ask you to do so as far as Islam is concerned – unless, that is, people don’t know nearly as much about Islam as I give them credit for, which is the conclusion I’m beginning to draw based on the responses so far in this thread.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I’ve met some Muslims: perfectly nice folks. I don’t share many of their views, and I even vehemently disagree with most of them, but on an individual level, I haven’t had a problem.

            You actually have a Muslim equivalent, believe it or not. They are the few who can’t or won’t believe that there are Americans who aren’t fat, soulless, and pig-ignorant of the rest of the world. Luckily they, and you, are not the majority. Vocal bunch though, on both sides.

        • 0 avatar
          otter

          What is an ‘Islamic country’ and how do you think Morocco, Algeria and Turkey fit that definition?

          Algeria is a replublic; Morocco is a constitutional monarchy; Turkey is a republic. All are majority-Muslim, but don’t have a lot in common aside from that, though Algeria and Morocco are more similar to each other than Turkey is to either.

          What do you think is wrong with buying cars built in Muslim countries?

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            In this context, by “Islamic country” I mean a country where Islam is the dominant religion (which is arguably the case with Morocco, Algeria and Turkey).

            It is wrong to buy cars built in Islamic countries because it means financially supporting countries whose population subscribes to Islam.

          • 0 avatar
            otter

            Well, at least we know where you stand on Islam. It’s going to be a lot harder, however, for you to not “financially support countries whose population subscribes to Islam” than you may think!

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            “It’s going to be a lot harder, however, for you to not “financially support countries whose population subscribes to Islam” than you may think!”

            You’re probably right about that one, but in some cases one still has a choice, and one ought to take advantage of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Oh, Yay Big Yay! An anti-muslim rant!

            Sorry I’m late, just got back from our monthly Angry Old White Men breakfast/gun show/convocation.

            As with any people who aren’t exactly like me, I just go all Dalek on muslims.

          • 0 avatar
            Sceptic

            Political systems aside, from personal experience with Turkish built Renault – they are utter crap. Not sure if that can be said about other Renault products but parts quality on that car was crap.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      OK, Lampredi, I need to know whether to file you into the “xenophobe” or “strongly opinionated but inarticulate” folder, so help me out here. What’s your problem with Islamic countries? The religion itself, or the admittedly undesirable cultural traditions that seem to correlate with Middle Eastern countries dominated by Islam?

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredi

        You’re indeed in dire need of classification help… and class.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I’ll agree with the first. But you’ve already forfeited your right to comment on the second.

          How ’bouts I just combine the two folders into “inarticulate xenophobe”? Done. You’re in there until you provide me with a good reason to think otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            Forfeited my right to make an observation? If anything, your follow-up response just emphasized how succinct it was.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You’re still in the xenophobe file, Lampredi.

            And you’re boring me. Succinctness is only a positive attribute if you are making a salient point. So far, the only answer you’ve given to the question “what is wrong with Islamic countries?” is “Because they’re Islamic”. ZZZZZZZZ…….

            Bye bye, you’re losing the only audience member here who was dumb enough to continue correspondence with you.

            That Dacia looks like a great little utility wagon. I might buy one even if it was built in Iran.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “I might buy one even if it was built in Iran.”

            I get a mental image of Homer Simpson trying to buy a car.

            http://deadhomersociety.files.wordpress DOT com/2010/06/mr-plow1_thumb.png?w=512&h=384

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          You’re a rascist c*nt so shut the f*ck up already.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Probert,

            I haven’t banned anybody from TTAC yet. If you keep calling people cunts and telling them to shut the fuck up, I’ll shut *you* the fuck up by digging Bertel’s Beryllium Banhammer back up from my backyard and bopping you on the metaphorical grill with it.

            Also, racist isn’t spelled that way.

            Also, Islam isn’t a race.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      You are free to state your opinions, let me state mine. Your statements appear to be based on prejudiced and opinion rather than fact. It’s hard to tell if your opinions are incorrect due to poor education or your prejudice or both. Either way, I have very little respect for your comments, and, it’s not like you took the opportunity to answer some good questions leveled at you either.

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredi

        “Your statements appear to be based on prejudiced and opinion rather than fact. It’s hard to tell if your opinions are incorrect due to poor education or your prejudice or both.”

        I could use that quote verbatim as a response to your comment. But feel welcome to address my statements in detail and point out where my “opinions are incorrect”.

        “it’s not like you took the opportunity to answer some good questions leveled at you”

        I responded to pretty much everything, except (for what ought to be obvious reasons) the comment by 30-mile-fetch.

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          Re asserting your opinion is not an answer. I associate religious intolerance with Nazi’s so if that what you are just come out and state it instead of hiding behind moral outrage.

          • 0 avatar
            Lampredi

            “Re asserting your opinion is not an answer.”

            Don’t know what you’re thinking of.

            “I associate religious intolerance with Nazi’s”

            Well, unless you possess some kind of pro-Islamic prejudice you should associate religious intolerance with Islam as well, so perhaps you ought to see where I’m coming from?

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            I’d back off this one. Dude could be a Coptic Christian or the like.

            If so, not idle internet fodder.

          • 0 avatar
            Beerboy12

            @Summicron Or just a troll, either way I’m done.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            @Beerboy12

            Yeah, me too… gonna go look for Nate’s latest comments.

    • 0 avatar
      kjs

      Did you know that the U.S. has its oldest, non-broken friendship treaty with Morocco?

      • 0 avatar
        Lampredi

        Yes, I’ve heard it before, that particular piece of information tends to show up when Islam is discussed.

        • 0 avatar
          kjs

          Really? I’ve only seen it in discussions regarding Morocco. Not sure why you think Morocco is so terrible, apart from being an Islamic state. They have been very cooperative in U.S. efforts against Islamic terrorist organizations. There are far worse things than providing a few manufacturing jobs to Moors.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m old enough to remember the glut of cheap European Cars way back when ~ most fell by the wayside but the few that were well designed or had decent build quality , lasted a long time .

    Notice no concern is given to what Americans want in this article , we’re just not that important in the big scheme of things .

    I’ve had many trucks but no imported truck , big or small , has the working / lasting ability of American trucks , not even Mercedes .

    Truth be told , I’d buy a Mercedes Bakkie if I could .

    I hope Dacia makes a good go of things .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      Bakkie is a South African term for truck. I would interested to know why you used that term?

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Because of the South African Mercedes TKD built Bakkie pickups of course….

        Few and far between when new as now , I’d love one as I know how to maintain it to last forever .

        *maybe* it’d be better than my old Chevrolet InLine 6 cylinder pickup .

        _maybe_ .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          Beerboy12

          I had to look it up, before my time. It’s a fascinating story. Thanks for that :-)

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            They were made from Mercedes Ponton Passenger cars .

            _VERY_ nice in both build and design quality as well as working ability….

            I’m a Mercedes DieselHead too so I’d want to add an OM616 engine & four speed slushbox….

            Being an Old Man with a truck is nice , if you have the truck you like . I do =8-) .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    otter

    The Duster strikes me as being sort of a Euro version of the XJ Jeep Cherokee – a small SUV with a good image, strong, cheap, simple, durable, profitable, well-designed and good-looking.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Notice no concern is given to what Americans want in this article … ”

    Good point. The US has only 5% of the world’s population and accounts for a rapidly shrinking 20% of the world’s economy. So yeah, the US isn’t the beginning and end of all things.

  • avatar

    Our Renault/Dacia Logan is celebrating its 5th birthday come September. In all that time, it’s been a tough car and is well adapted to Brazilian conditions. All the while it’s been a good car to drive and economic.

    In 5 yrs it’s needed 2 new tyres, 2 suspension bits, oil. Unexpected issues were all fixed with no fuss, at Renault’s expense and with a loaner car: refitting the gas tank, a new temperature sensor (both common mishaps for cars the same age), 2 shock absorbers, rupture and subsequent loss of gearbox oil (caused by physical trauma, not defect). The greatest issue was 3 yrs ago the head gasket developed a crack, and Renault fixed it (that’d be the only quality issue).

    All in all it means, that when it’s time to change one of our cars, the Ka will go, the Logan will stay, and I’ll be looking for a Logan 1.6. Yes, repeat customers we’ll be. I have many friends and family who have or had Logans, Sanderos or Dusters. Their experience is similar and many will stay in the Renault family.

    All of this bodes very well for Renault-Nissan. As James May is wont to say, “Good news!”

  • avatar
    redliner

    Nice 2008 MKX you got there.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Wow you’re right. Put a meshy grille in there, and you’d be right on. Bet the Dacia ends up with better resale value though.

    • 0 avatar
      otter

      Ha! There are ‘Bentley’ grille kits for Chrysler 300s, so why not a ‘Lincoln’ grill kit for a Duster? And a bunch of chrome to go with it.

      Or go in a different direction and come up with 70s Mopar color & trim setups…..

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Knock Renault if you will but the Renault of today is a very different company. This car is evidence.
    Also. This car represents many values that Americans do like. The “tried and tested” drive train, the solidly engineered bodywork and it’s apparent reliability. I guess GM would rather try to make something similar, probably fail and that will be that…

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      GM bashing again so soon ? .

      Why ?

      Oh yeah , wait .

      Never mind =8-) .

      -Nate

      (unashamed BOWTIE Guy but realistic about the truth)

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I did not actually intend for any GM bashing but… Many a word of truth spoken in jest, right?
        GM have been doing a few things right lately so there is hope. Or, Renault could just do us all a favor and sell that car here.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          No worries ! I was just yanking your chain a tiny bit =8-) .

          I’d like to see Renault back in the U.S.A. but nothing like the terrible Reliant my Father bought in Hawaii .

          -Nate

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve said this before, but my family is testament to this. Back in the day (60s) Dad had a Gordini/Dauphine. Lovely to drive, but all kinds of issues. Then Renault left the country, we left the country, and only back in Brazil, in the 90s, did a Renault (Scenic) make it back into the family. According to Mom, the Scenic was the best car she ever had.

      After that minivan, two Clios, a Twingo, and two Logans (my brother and I) and a Sandero (Dad). All good, reliable, economic, content-rich, fun-to-drive cars. Brother is on his 2nd Renault, Dad on his third. My wife and I are in our second, and like I said above, very likely will get a third. Fact is, in a car loving family, a family that have worked on and with, raced and talk cars endlessly, Renault has been with us since the 90s. We aren’t done with them yet.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        I have some experiences with Renault’s to, all good ones. I would own one here in the States in a heartbeat.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          I grew up in the dayze of the Renault Dauphine and bought one (with the ‘Ferlec Clutch’ no less) for $35 in 1973 , in many ways it was a fine car , quirky beyond my ability to keep back then .

          America was full of Dauphines from ’57 to the 1960’s when they stopped selling them .

          Most ground to a halt in the late 60’s or early 70’s .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The first Logan was a pretty dire penalty box, but a quick jump over to NetCarShow’s Dacia section shows that Dacias have become much more tolerable, to the point you could even say they were designed by someone other than a bean-counter! The Lodgy, Dokker, new Sandero and Logan and Duster are modern. I know why we can’t have Dacias in the US – safety and crash standards and such – but I still wish they’d offer one or two here, ’cause they’re getting better and better.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’m surprised nobody’s made the obligatory brown wagon!/diesel manual? comment yet. Consider it done, and you’re welcome.

  • avatar
    Vojta Dobeš

    Actually, the cheapest Dacia (Sandero in Access trim level – without AC or power anything) costs just €6,300 in Czech Republic. I guess the difference is caused by the fact that cheapest models are not even offered in Western Europe – no one in Germany would probably buy a non-AC car.


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