The Truth About Cars » dacia logan The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » dacia logan American Sanctions Forced Renault Out Of Iran Fri, 26 Jul 2013 16:37:07 +0000 Dacia_Logan

Following PSA’s exit from Iran last year, Renault is the latest French car maker to leave the Middle Eastern country, thanks to American derived sanctions.

La Tribune reports that Renault will stand to lose about 100,000 units worth of sales in Iran, with variants of the Dacia Logan making up the bulk of their volume. Renault built the cars locally in a joint-venture with IKCO (also a partner of PSA), with Renault holding a 51 percent stake.

Renault’s Carlos Tavares cited American sanctions on trade with Iran as a driving force behind the decision. Violating the sanctions would have had major implications for Renault-Nissan, namely difficulties doing business in the United States. While PSA’s exit was largely blamed on pressure from alliance partner General Motors, Renault’s own decision to leave appears to be motivated solely by the consequences of non-compliance.

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Dacia Gets A New Duster For Its 9th Birthday, As The Low-Cost Boom Continues Thu, 25 Jul 2013 13:11:55 +0000 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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Great News Everyone! Dacia Booming In Dismal European Auto Market Fri, 21 Jun 2013 14:17:08 +0000 Dacia_Logan_II_(front_quarter)

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.

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Great News Everyone! Dacia Sandero To Cost £5,995 Tue, 16 Oct 2012 19:05:08 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Great news everyone! The Dacia Sandero will apparently cost £5,995, or about $9,600 in its cheapest trim level, when it goes on sale in the UK tomorrow.

Full pricing and specs will be released Wednesday, but with the Duster SUV retailing for £8,995 (just under $15,000), the smaller, less prestigious Sandero could conceivably occupy the rock-bottom price point. The Telegraph, claims that the cheap sticker is accompanied by improved interior materials and lots of borrowed switch gear. It would be easy to make jokes about how French quality is an improvement from Romanian quality, but our own Marcello de Vasconcellos drives a Brazilian-spec Logan (the sedan version) and assures us that it’s muito bem inside and out.

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Never Mind The McLaren: Why The Dacia Sandero Is The Star Of The Paris Motor Show Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:30:45 +0000

The Paris Auto Show is about to kick off tomorrow, and some of the product set to debut has me cursing myself for not maxing out my Visa on a flight and a room at the lovely hotel that’s walking distance from the Porte de Versailles, where the pretty girl with crooked teeth sits patiently at the front desk. And how could I forget the wizened gran-mere hovering over the table at breakfast, replenishing your plate with cheeses and baked goods that one could never hope to find at Publix?

Alas, I am not part of the A-List club that gets driven from the Georges V to the Expo Hall in an S-Class, and so rather than sucking down a Gauloises or getting a glimpse of Carla Bruni (I was blessed with such a privilege in 2010) I’m stuck in North America, having to use my brain rather than just repeating back what my PR minders told me over a glass of Cotes-de-Rhone

The same people who are attending the show on the Sponsored Content plan will no doubt be running beautifully shot feature articles on the Jaguar F-Type, the McLaren whateveritscalled and the new Range Rover. I wish I was there to see them all, but I’d probably give them a once over at the show and then wait another 6 months for them to crop up in Forest Hill Village on a Sunday morning.

What I’m really interested in is the low end flotsam that we won’t ever get.Car makers can be put in one of three categories nowadays; low-cost, volume and premium. In Europe, volume car makers are getting pulverized by the godawful economic conditions on the continent. If you’ve read TTAC for longer than a week, you have seen at least one story about this. It’s arguably been the overarching narrative of 2012, and nobody is getting hit harder than European car makers. Peugeot Citroen is closing plants in France, Ford is hemorrhaging money, Opel is shrugging off the hand of the grim reaper.

Premium cars, buoyed by markets outside of Europe, are doing better, but even Mercedes-Benz is predicting falling profits and cutting costs to the tune of 1 billion euro in 2012. The shining star in Europe is the low-cost car, and to me, the Dacia Sandero is the most compelling car at the Paris Auto Show. Aside from its 15 minutes of fame on Top Gear, the Sandero’s story is so complex and politically loaded that even if the car was an irredeemable piece of garbage, it would still be fascinating.

Dacia was bought by Renault in 1999, and in 2004, the Logan was launched as a low-cost world car. Since then, roughly 1.8 million units have been sold, as buyers in emerging markets flocked to the Renault-engineered car that sold at Lada pricepoints. Later on, Dacia has launched the Lodgy minivan and Duster SUV, which have been critical and marketplace successes, with sales up 16 percent this year in an absolutely dreadful European market. In fact, Dacia has been so successful, that they’ve even been accused of cannibalizing sales of their big brother, Renault.

As if that weren’t pouring salt into the wounds of an ailing domestic car industry, Dacia products are now being built in the former colony of Morocco, where workers are paid 13 percent of what a French Renault worker makes.The Moroccan plant is said to be capable of exporting 85 percent of ts 400,000 unit annual capacity, and most of those will end up in Europe. In a country where immigrants from the Maghreb still struggle with their role in French society, this is, to put it mildly, a controversial issue.

Trade unionists and newspaper columnists have cried foul about the low wages and the outsourcing of jobs that have led to the erosion of the French middle class lifestyle. The outsourcing of low-cost vehcle production has led to the demise of good jobs – but the very people who hold them are unwilling or unable to buy a new mainstream car as it is. They want the low-cost Dacia, the one that could never be sold so cheap as long as they are built by workers making 1,800 euro a month and taking 5 weeks paid vacation. The whole situation is an interesting allegory for the decline of the state-subsidized “la belle vie” that has been enjoyed in Post-WWII France.

All that for one little hatchback that is slow, boring looking and will sell for under $10,000. Isn’t that more interesting than an 800 horsepower McLaren? I think so.


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“Fabrique Au Maroc” Renault/Dacia Cars Draws Controversy In France Fri, 10 Feb 2012 21:01:58 +0000

Renault’s establishment of a factory in France’s former colony of Morocco has drawn ire from union officials and industry in the sort of election year politicking that wouldn’t be unknown to Americans. The language and culture may be different, but the theme remains the same; good jobs in the manufacturing sector are leaving the country, and they aren’t coming back.

Renault’s Dacia brand is having a good run in world markets, and achieved a bit of notoriety when Top Gear’s James May professed his undying love for the Dacia Sandero compact hatchback. Renault has even gone as far as killing off half of their UK lineup, replacing the missing vehicles with Dacia cars instead.

A factory in Tangiers, Morocco was established to help build the new 7-seater Dacia Lodgy minivan, which will cost half as much as its Renault equivalent, the Scenic. The plant will also build a replacement for the Logan, and will be able to produce as much as 400,000 cars annually. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn denied that the Lodgy would cannibalize sales of the Scenic, but the plant’s announcement seems to have struck a nerve in France.

Dacia’s are currently built in Romania, an EU member state, where workers earn 450 euro per month. While a French worker in a Renault factory earns about 1,800 euro, employees at the Moroccan plant will only take home ,250 per month. One columnist in French paper Le Dauphiné Libéré noted that Moroccan workers won’t even be able to buy the cars they produce with that wage. But the Tangiers plant is right near a major port, and Morocco, a relatively poor country will benefit from the 6,000 jobs added by the plant alone.

Meanwhile, Europe is in the throes of an economic crisis with the potential to destabilize the entire continent – and France, along with Germany, are doing the most to bring the EU out of its tailspin. France is in an election year, with Socialist leader Francois Hollande making headway against current leader Nicolas Sarkozy. Not surprisingly, union leaders are giving the government (a 15 percent stakeholder in Renault) some merde royale. “We see this factory as a dangerous development,” said Fabien Gache, head of French labor union CGT. “These vehicles are basically…[Dacia branded] Scenics and Kangoos,” Gache said. “They’re bound to hit the Renault brand’s market share.” Even a former cabinet minister for Sarkozy has accused Renault of “social dumping in Morocco“.

Renault is estimated to produce 30 percent of its vehicles in its home market of France. Working in a Renault factory and taking advantage of the French welfare state’s generous benefits used to be a ticket to a solid middle class life in France, but the rise of “l’hexagone” (Dacia) in favor of “le diamant” (Renault) represents a symbolic threat to a former way of life that came to be seen as a birthright in not just France but much of Europe. Ghosn went as far as to say that he never even dreamed of building a Dacia factory in Western Europe, as it would be incompatible with the idea of a “low-cost” vehicle. The Dacia Duster is a major success in France, but it could never be built with workers earning 1,800 euro a month and taking 5 weeks paid vacation. Dacia’s market share has risen as Renault’s has fallen – and why wouldn’t it when the economy is in a toilet, and one can buy a Renault-engineered vehicle for half price compared to the “brand name” version?


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