9 June 2004

Renault has revealed its budget-brand Dacia Logan, a four-door, five-seater saloon costing just £3400. The car has been developed for emerging markets, but if there is sufficient demand it could also be sold in the UK.

Mechanically the Logan is conventional – a front-wheel-drive saloon in the Mégane class – but it dramatically breaks the mould in being priced below the Twingo, Renault’s cheapest car.

The basic model, though not on sale immediately, will cost just €5000 – £3433 – the target price laid down by Renault boss Louis Schweitzer back in 1998. For that you get a roomy car powered by a 75bhp, eight-valve 1.4-litre petrol engine, using Clio front suspension and a twist beam rear axle from the new Renault Modus.

Engine options also include 90bhp 1.6-litre petrol or 65bhp 1.5-litre diesel powertrains, both borrowed from the Clio. The Logan is based on the Renault-Nissan alliance’s B platform, also used by the Micra, the new Modus and – when it appears in 18 months’ time – the next Clio. Besides its €5000 price target, the Logan is designed to be ‘modern, roomy, sturdy and affordable’. It is simple and cheap to manufacture with a low degree of automation; Schweitzer said it was ‘designed to cost’, like the 1992 Twingo.

Renault now owns 99.3 per cent of the Romanian company and has completely refurbished its factory at a cost of £326m.

The car’s name – Logan – was chosen to be internationally pronounceable, and is a twist on ‘log-in’ from the computer world; the idea being that this entry-level car allows buyers to log-in to the world of Renault.

The Logan saloon will be joined by a four-door estate in ’07, featuring a high roof and twin rear doors, and there will also be a van version of this body style. A five-door hatch may also be offered.

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