Renault steps up Dacia
10 March 2006

Dacia unveiled this Logan-based Steppe concept at Geneva. Its chunky cladding and roof storage system may point to a Berlingo-style car, but it seems more likely that it comes before a five or seven-seater Logan estate car. There will also be a new petrol engine for Dacia in 2006.

The concept is certainly front-wheel drive and features a higher quality interior, with an MP3 player and back-lit dials, than the Logan saloon – currently Dacia’s only model in western Europe.

If a car based on the Steppe is made, expect it to be very cheap.

Dacia has 45 per cent of the Romanian market. But with plans to be building in Russia, Morocco, Iran and Colombia by the end of the decade, its horizons are set much wider thanks to parent company Renault Nissan. Dacia will soon have a presence in many more emerging car markets, all of which demand cheap, tough cars. Some also impose punitive taxes on imports: part of the rationale for building factories in so many countries.

Dacia sold 69,000 vehicles in 2003 and 95,000 in 2004. But in 2006 it expects to sell 200,000 units. Investment from Renault is to top 150million euros, though Dacia made its first profit in six years in 2005.

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