Blog : Dacia – shooting fish in a barrel

Keith Adams

Dacia Sandero - the UK's cheapest car. Yours for £70 a month...
Dacia Sandero – the UK’s cheapest car. Yours for £70 a month…

So, the news that filtered through today was interesting. Dacia’s UK launch in January 2013 is really beginning to look interesting with the news that the Sandero supermini will be hitting the market at £5995 – to become Britain’s cheapest new car. Not only that, but Dacia has announced that leasing deals start at a mere £70 (with a £1800 deposit, admittedly), and £100 per month (with a smaller deposit). Either way, that is cheap. Seriously cheap.

Although Dacia came painfully close to launching in the UK in 2008, to become the archetypal ‘reasonably priced car’, but the global economic downturn put paid to those plans, forcing parent company Renault to drop its plans. Which is a shame, because as a product to sell during awful economic times, Dacia offers exactly what customers want – a low price, rugged construction, and proven technology.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the Sandero and Duster are going to sell like hot cakes. They literally have no rivals since previously bargain-basement companies such as Skoda, Kia and Hyundai exited this sector of the market and went mainstream. And I’m genuinely excited by the prospect of Dacia returning to the UK to revolutionize budget motoring, offering the chance for budget-conscious drivers the opportunity to pick up a new car either on the never-never for a headline-low monthly payment, or for the price of a four-year old secondhand alternative.

And it does make me wonder at the ineptitude of MG Rover back in the Kevin Howe era. I mean, they had the opportunity to do the same thing with the CityRover. One part of Phoenix bought complete cars off Tata for less than two grand, selling it on to its own dealers at a healthy mark-up. The list prices were laughable, with the second-world supermini being sold through Phoenix dealers for between £6600 and £8900.

The original plan had been to sell the CityRover for £4999, and at this level, the margins were still good. But instead, the inexplicable greed of Kevin Howe tried pricing the car at the same level as some very talented opposition. And inevitably, the CityRover failed it sell. How different it could have been had they sold the car for under five grand – expectations would have been lower, and buyers would not have minded that car’s rougher edges.

Fast forwards back to 2013, and Dacia’s success, which will prove to be the saviour of Renault UK – we can only imagine the bitter-sweet feelings of those MG Rover executives who hoped that the same might have happened in 2005…

What might have been...
What might have been…
Keith Adams


  1. How long before Tata try again, under whatever brand?

    Suspect Suzuki will repeat its £5995 Alto offer…

    Can’t help being reminded of the very base Rover 600 with black unpainted bumpers..

  2. Bloody hell fire, that is seriously cheap. Yep it will come with absolutely bog all as standard, but come on, a stereo is £50 from Hellfrauds. A brand new 5 door hatch the size of a Clio, for under £6k? I think the Mrs might be tempted with one next year, as she just wants a basic car, no leccy windows or owt, and this would fit the bill.

  3. Good luck to Dacia. It deserves the UK success that is without doubt coming its way. Better late than never, Renault. Thank goodness your dealers now have something that will sell in sensible numbers in 2013. And deservedly so.

  4. Just been nosying, and it looks like they are going to do a 900cc 3 pot, and a congestion zone excempt diesel! Looks like a new era of cheap new cars is here

  5. Certainly looks an interesting proposition – the key thing that Renault may have played a blinder on is not diluting their core brand – what did for the CityRover was calling it ‘a Rover’ – people expected a car with the same quality and build as the 200 series. However, replacing a much-loved (and later maligned) British car (Metro) with an Indian-made unknown quantity, and then trying to flog it at an inflated price was never going to help. Perhaps a ‘Metro’ sub-brand could have helped the Indicar, alongside sub £5k pricing. Sadly I think even this would have failed to turn MGR around. I just hope that Dacia can turn Renault’s fortunes around – let’s face it, ‘La Regie’ hasn’t exactly been doing brilliantly of late…….

  6. If it wasn’t for the French connection i could be interested having seen a lot of Dacia’s in europe this sumer but French? No way!

  7. The mid range model with stereo, and leccy windows is only a whisker above £6500. Seriously cheap car to be honest

  8. @Simon_H

    Indeed, the car was too basic and frugal to wear the Rover badge, especially given the positioning of the other, established cars in the line up. Metro was unavailable though, having been retained by BMW (I wonder how long before it pops up on something in the MINI range?). Could MG Rover have managed a relaunch of the Austin marque as a budget range, starting with the CityRover/Indica. The Austin City, maybe?

  9. I’m sure its ideal for folk who dont care what they drive,it obviously looks eastern bloc and im sure it will generate the usual jokes about owners smelling of urine.

  10. The return of no frills motoring, but acceptable to 21st century motorists with PAS, airbags, ABS, cloth seats and tinted glass. I really think this will lead to more base models coming on the market and maybe budget manufacturers like Suzuki and Kia cutting their prices to take on Dacia.
    Also reports suggest this new Dacia isn’t some rough edged car with the driving appeal of an FSO, but the base version uses a trusted 1.2 litre engine used in the Renault Clio and is acceptable for motorway driving with a top speed of 100 mph. I think the Sandero will sell in big numbers.

  11. The CityRover “marque” should have been given a new badge to differentiate it from Rover. Just as Land Rover and Range Rover have always been.

    Renault have done the right thing to distance the Dacia cars from their cars. I reckon it will sell well.

  12. Atleast it has a three year warranty just in case those french electrics go on the blink,or would that not count being romanian built? I’m sorry this car is a kennel,a bin.
    Buy a two year old korean with the remainder of its seven year warranty.

  13. Unfortunately Mr Brett, the warranty period after 3 years on the Korean stuff isn’t worth a great deal, and have you actually gone and looked at a Dacia yet? I fear you are being a badge snob, and ignoring the fact that this is an absolute bargain for what it is, and is exactly what the market has been crying out for, a basic, no frills car

  14. The trump card from Dacia is the £850 extra for a 7 year warranty.

    Totally unbeatable value and yes MGR missed a trick with the CityRover, they should have simply badged it Metro and they might still be with us.

  15. As an interesting paralell, the last of the rear engined Skodas had superlite style alloy wheels, and even those while they were basic cars, looked quite smart I thought.

  16. Its fugly as hell, but I have some respect for what they are doing. I haven’t seen any reviews yet but at this price durability is more important than haptics. I’d be expecting basic spec, shiny plastics, and probably little refinement. All this is forgivable if it turns out to be reliable and robust.

  17. @19,seen several and drove one while on holday in Bulgaria,and yes i am being a badge snob,although this is badged a renault in some markets,they dare not badge it so here.
    Its a car for bucket listers and those few that do not need anything other than a set of wheels,although the country is on its arse,a generation of folk have been brought up to be somewhat asperational ever since you could buy a three grand Lada and your council house,there is a market for it of course but dont kid yourself it will
    sell like hot cakes,why do you think Skoda moved away from this segment?
    Oh, and its a facelifted 2007 car,isnt it a bit old now ala MG3/6? gosh i forgot,this Dacia isnt Chinese.

  18. Yes – its a car for those who dont care about cars or image. What exactly is wrong with that? And why do people still have this negative, racist, stereotype about French cars?

  19. A “budget” Renault !

    Having experienced the poor quality of regular priced Renaults and the components they are made from I’d view this with suspicion.

  20. Thank god for a new car launch at the bottom end of the market. I’d rather see these than the cars driven by the pathetic image obsessed generation!

  21. Remember folks this is not a CHEAP CAR

    It’s a CAR that’s CHEAP

    These are proper cars, no pop out back windows like the alto or a C1, 3 abreast seating in the rear, a proper boot. They will sell like hot cakes and be premium priced by 2017….

  22. The previous generation micra sold well. You will still be held up by one driven at 15mph by someone who can’t see over the dashboard at some point, or run off the road by a pizza delivery driver in a 17 year old model with every panel damaged. Point is – there is a market for a cheap (although dull in every way) motoring (as long as it’s reliable).

  23. Its an old Renault Clio dressed up in new clothes. Yes it might have dodgy french electrics but at that price what you going to get. It will drive ok, go ok and will last ok. Its a car that a lot of people have been waiting for, though most will be the older gen not the youngsters who only want bling bling

  24. @27, Paul,

    Nothing wrong with making a car that is for those who don’t care about cars or image, except that such cars are often awful or at best extremely bland to drive- fine if you don’t care, but this is a site for people that do.

    As for French cars, well, historically even if they have been keenly priced and well marketed, they are often not terribly durable, and parts prices can be shocking. I’ve owned only three French and French-ish cars (Talbot Alpine, Citroen Visa Club, Renault Laguna Mk1), and the first two were rust-prone and with little to recommend them apart from being cheap. The Renault Laguna on the other hand wasn’t too bad- they accidentally produced a fairly durable reasonably reliable car that drove quite well, but happily for their parts department they corrected their error by producting later versions which were notoriously unreliable, often suffering catastrophic engine failure within weeks of delivery.

    For my money, the only French cars worth having are mostly older PSA XUD diesels, or the quirkier older Citroens which make up for their occasional frailty with enormous charisma and an unbeatably comfortable drive.

    So am I ‘racist’ then for not rating most French cars (and I’ve driven some recent Peugeots which left me very underwhelmed)? Please also take into consideration my apparently racist lack of enthusiasm for the vast majority of German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese cars (although I respect the reliability of the latter).

    Says a lot for Renault that they have had to withdraw some of their most mainstream models out of the British market before introducing Dacia. So who is in the wrong? The British car buying public for their ‘racist’ attitude in not buying Renaults or Renault themselves for not being able to design and market their own mainstream models to cater for what people actually want to buy?

  25. @27,racist against a car? how absurd.Its no stereotype that they are flimsy inside,and you wonder why Renaults model range in the UK has imploded and PSA get a 5 billion bailout? There are some important french cars from this century which i consider some of the most beautiful i have ever seen,but none in the last 15 years,the Pug 607 came close,the C6 even closer.

  26. Last week, I decided to take a test drive in a nearly new Honda Jazz EX (the top model) with 20k on the clock for a price of £6500 (cheap?)

    Anyway, all I had heard was good reviews and this is why i decided to look at it.

    Yuk! Horrible soulless little tin box. NO WAY

    I got back into my 126,000 mile Rover 75 Connoisseur tourer and instantly spent the guts of £300 on it buying some nice new service items.

    Unless it requires more than it’s worth in repairs, I will be keeping it as long as it keeps going.

    The sandero will be like the jazz, only MUCH MUCH WORSE. It will be even tinnier, it will have fragile electrics from the frogs, and will have the most horrendous cheap seat material from some far east sweatshop.

    Horrible car, bought by people who treat car in the same way as they treat a washing machine.

    Incidentally, when I bought my washing machine, I did with it what i do with my cars. I bought BRITISH!

    The french should do what they do best with their Dacias…..


    (P.s. this is all a bit of a laugh and tongue in cheek. True though?)

  27. Sadly (or not, depending on your point of view) the French motor industry is in the same state ours was in the 1970s; State owned and susidised with poor industrial relations producing badly made cars that no-one wants. And we all know how that ended.

    The only saving grace is that Renault (or Leyland France as I call them) have boxed a bit clever in their ownership of Nissan and Dacia giving them manufacturing base outside of the troubled home market which most of the public simply don’t associate with them.

  28. Ladies n Gents
    Her nibs has a Renault 1.5dci Megane (The new shape) which is an awesome car. The engine is a real peach. 54 to the gallon and it pulls.
    I dont think being anti French is the problem, it is inept stealer who dont understand CAN electronics.
    These cars are going to sell like HOT cakes, I dont rate the korean stuff that highly, but I have seen many 1.5Dci renaults with 140K+ and driving nicely.
    I quite like the look of the duster (you see lots of these in france)
    I also remember when Skida were laughed at, and now they are some of the best built VAG group vehicles.
    I think these cars will force the big players to look a lot more carefully at what thier customers “really” want

  29. Had 3 Citroens – 2 ZX XUDs and a Xantia 1.8, never had any issues with any of them.

    Cars in between those I had issues with were the German built Orion 1.8 Zetec – a total lemon that put me off Fords (though a quick spin in a newish Mondeo – that car is a world away) and an Alfa GTV (electrics and suspension bushes. But a very very fun car, ideal as a 2nd car / weekend toy).

    The 406 HDi I later had I didn’t rate highly, needed sensors replacing, mounts were underspecced, the COM2000 indicator was held on by elastic bands and newspaper and it was rusting around the base of the doors at 7 year old.

    I suspect the issues with reliability occur when the French try and make things too complex, as per modern diesels that try and drive like petrols and have a huge emissions overhead, and the all-electrics that everyone demands now.

    The Sandero reminds me of the ZX hatch I had, basic and so should be rugged and reliable enough.

  30. @38 CAN BUS is reliable until a controller has water ingress,its a simple system,made complicated by crappy wiring connectors and bad earths which the french are renowned for,ther will be at least three earth points under the bonnet of your megane without white grease on to stop electroytic corrosion.
    @39 Try a 407-now that is a bad car!

  31. Well, that’s the MG3 stuffed then, isn’t it? Similar cars aiming at similar targets yet, browsing the (rather complex) Dacia website, I see even the most expensive version is less than £10k. AND it’ll be available in January. As long as the quality is acceptable…

    Forget the CityRover; as I wrote elsewhere, it had a totally unsuitable badge for the type of car and its market. In addition, the country was more prosperous (albeit on borrowed money) and bargain motoring wasn’t a huge priority, so the timing was wrong, too.

  32. @ But the MG3 is in the Fabia,corsa arena? not a not very well styled cheap eastern bloc car,it a parts bin car,i have no problem with its price or what it is or wants to be but no one needs to talk it up like its the holy grail of modern motoring-it aint,its a 2012 Yugo.

  33. I live close to one of the largest old peoples complexes in the UK (600+ residnets in 400 apartmnets). i know i’ll be seeing alot of these being driven at 25mph!

    Its going to sell very well.

  34. @francis 38.
    I speak as I find. I foolishly purchased a brand new Bini in Jan 2010, stuffed it thro my own company. low emmissions.
    Engine (Peugeot=fantastic)
    rest of the car was cak. it went rusty. 3 doors replaced under warranty, teh interior trim was junk and it vreaked and rattled. I do like this site, but I dont buy British cars, or ones assembled here. Thats what 40 years of experience has done.
    I am also qualified and competant to work on marine electronics, and I do not share your opinion of bad earths/crappy wiring connectors.
    Most of the looms use Amphenol connectors and tend to be pretty similar.
    Her Nibs Megane has more than 3 earths, all of them have star washers, and there is a protective type coating on.
    In France a car is expected to last 20 years, and you do see older cars a lot. A good bottle of wine is more important than having a newer car than next door.
    Me I like Japanese (Subaru, Volvo Non GM Saab and a few toyotas)
    I own a UK manufacturing company that is 100% export.

  35. I dare say you wont share my opinion on wiring and bad earths but apart from an amphicar which model is a seafarer nowadays,i speak as i find too and week in,week out pugs and Renaults and especially Fiats (of course,Italian) come through our workshops with controller errors etc mainly due to bad earths or water ingress,maybe they are two or three year old but trust me they do,as do Mercedes,and as i said at least three earths,im not arguing with you so dont get me wrong,and agree 100% about the wine,but never in a million years the Peugeot/BMW engine complete turd compared to the previous engine.

  36. Francis, I speak as I find. My neigbour is a Merc specialist. The poorest electrics I have ever seen on a car is the Old ML270 cdi. Built stateside.

    We both have similar views on somethings.

    In my experience the main steelers cause half the problem but not doing a decent pdi, not understanding half the control gear.

    On My new car I had to explain the importance of using the correct spec oil and the C2 or C3 rating. I am wondering why the “DPF” failures are made worse by sloppy main dealers damaging parts in the early life of a vehicle.

    It is sad cars are built to be recycled every 7 or 8 years.

    So what is the stead of your choice then sir?

  37. Agree on the Cityrover thing, to get back on topic. Everyone thought it would be much cheaper than it was and it totally arrested any sales potential especially given that it was competing with much better cars for the same, if not higher price. I genuinely believe that a an Austin City priced at £4000 to £5000 would have been the way to go and it would have been welcomed into the market with open arms, had less expectations on it, and generated much needed cashflow for both dealers and company alike. It genuinely beggars belief at what they were thinking when they sat around a board table and came up with the ludicrous price and marketing for the car. Whilst there are far better “what-might-have-been” in terms of car design at MGR/BL/ARG etc this has to be one of the worst marketing decisions ever taken especially given the perilous state of the company at the time!?!?

  38. @46,My daily user is a 139k MK5 Golf GT TDi which apart from needing a DMF in the future is enjoyable,this replaced my 205k 1.8 20V (which i miss)and a Marina and my beloved senator 24v,which are weekend cars that sort of thing.
    There is no excuse for dealers not to use the incorrect grade and class of oil for your car at all,oil is oil is a shameful attitude,at our workshops (around the UK)it is strictly instilled in the staff that correct oil is used as our vehicles are in warranty period most of the time but it saves on downtime and when it cost us £8k to replace a Mazda 6D engine due to incorrect oil that blocked the DPF,melted the tips off the injectors and bent the con-rods it was an expensive lesson well learned!

  39. VWs are particularly fussy about oil, needing the Quantum oil.

    Many early Zetecs (Zeta) were wrecked by not using 5w30 oil.

    @Jezza, I know someone a friend of the family who bought an M class Merc and spent thousands on it getting it to run day to day, injectors etc.
    I pass by a Merc specialist on the commute into work, good lot of cars but don’t seem to see many M classes there – either they’re scrimping on servicing running them into the ground, or they’re dealer-only items.
    My own stateside built car, a Honda, has never put a foot wrong. Suppose it is a bit like UK manufacturing (as you probably know yourself), the right staff / process and parts and you’ll have a reliable product.

  40. @1 Chris… I remember the short lived black bumpers on R600’s – a backward step that cheapened the image of the car. Thankfully Rover changed back quickly.

    re the “Sandero”, okay it’s a cheap & cheerful car, but for anyone who is not very interested in cars and prestige marques it could be a decent alternative to a base Corsa, Fiesta etc. As long as it delivers reliable service at low cost that would satisfy those customers. Hopefully the MG3 will not create too cheap an image when it launches here

  41. @ Francis Brett, VAG are planning a brand to go under Skoda, to rival Dacia. And in some markets, Dacias are badged as Ladas.

    Skoda’s bubble will burst soon, especially as quality and reliability are slipping, and dealers are suffering from arrogant attitudes to customers, and shoddy work from the fitters. The Rapid is too expensive, and not as well made as it could be either, you can tell it is a VAG accountant designed car

  42. @ Francis Brett, VAG are planning a brand to go under Skoda, to rival Dacia. And in some markets, Dacias are badged as Ladas.

    Skoda’s bubble will burst soon, especially as quality and reliability are slipping, and dealers are suffering from arrogant attitudes to customers, and shoddy work from the fitters. The Rapid is too expensive, and not as well made as it could be either, you can tell it is a VAG accountant designed car

  43. budget car at a time where we are all counting the pennies – it will sell but I doubt in massive numbers, you can buy a 12 month old base Fiesta for £6,500 from a Ford dealer with 2 years warranty still to run which would be the way I would go if it was my money. What would second hand values of the Sandero be??

  44. I haven’t seen any mention that Dacia website tells us the Sandero is made in India.
    The depreciation as a percentage will be quite high, but if the base model loses say, 100% in three years it will lose £6000. If a £12000 car loses 50% in three years it still loses £6000.

  45. “There is no excuse for dealers not to use the incorrect grade and class of oil for your car at al”

    Damn straight, but when Thornwoods in Hawick charged me £200 for a long-life oil change ’cause I wanted it ahead of schedule, they were NOT impressed when I checked the oil, found murky brown semi-synthetic crap in the car instead of bright green longlife stuff, and demanded they changed the oil and filter again.

    Though the excuse that they thought the request for an oil change halfway through the schedule meant I wanted to come off the longlife oil for the car seemed somewhat at odds with the bill…

  46. Richard, a lot of stealer are useless. I now buy my own oil (Opie oils) not for saving money, for the pure fact I am not shy when driving my car, and I want it to hold up.

    You just know when they get to 4 years old, if a failure happens its always the consumer at fault right.


  47. @Brian. European models are made in Romania and Moroccoo.
    Dacia also exports CKD kits which are assembled in the following locations:
    Envigado, Colombia: Sofas (Branded Renault)
    Moscow, Russia: Avtoframes (Branded Lada)
    Iran: Iran Khodro and Iran Pars (Branded Renault)
    Curitiba, Brazil: Aryton Senna Factory (Branded Renault)
    Mahindra Renault, India: Mahindra Renault (Branded Mahindra)
    Nissan, South Africa: Nissan (Branded Nissan)

  48. based on the Clio, I hope the bonnet doesn’t fling up when it drives along or the gearbox goes after the 3 year…….

    Anyway, I see it for what it is.. A car that’s been put together for those that really just need 4 wheels. It’s great but would be better if it had been engineered by our Teutonic friends. I simply don’t trust anything that comes out of a French car maker because undoubtedly something will go wrong after a couple of years. If this had been a Toyota car, I’d have jumped at one just for commuting/shopping and save the Jag for the weekends.

    Why the prejudice against cars from France? Well who consistantly tops the charts for Warranty Direct?

  49. @33 – Indeed this is a website for those who care about cars and this is an interesting car, in many ways a ground breaking one. A proper, European standard small car for less than £6K certainly makes me sit up and take notice, even if I wouldnt buy one, or indeed be seen dead in one – why people might think I smealt of urine for goodness sake! – There is undoubtedly a market for this car in the UK as noted all other manufacturers, including Skoda and the Koreans have moved up market leaving a big gap for Dacia. As for the anti French thing, virtually all cars built by European manufacturers are virtually the same in terms of Engineering integrity. Open the bonnet of any car be it French, German or Italian and your greeted with Bosch and Siemens labels, the same kit of parts in effect. Any difference in quality is perceived, regardless of what these mickey mouse consumer surveys come up with.

  50. @49,I always use Fuchs Titan supersyn 5w30 oil in my golf as i have it stockpiled,but i also like Quantum Syner-Z,can be used in most motors.
    @57 Makes you wonder what thier attitude would be if a warranty issue arose having put incorrect oil in.

  51. Unfortunately personal experience of ownership of a number of french cars, reliability surveys and an ex wife who used to sell Citroen (so know something of the multitude of problems) tells me French cars are simply not reliable. And I am also as highly prejudice against the French as they are against the British! What little money the taxman and EU leave me to spend as i wish will NOT go into the pockets of the French. Other than that I agree the Dacia range is the right product at the right time, I saw quite a few of the small SUV’s on holiday, some quite nicely specced/blinged up too. Also agree about the oil topic, I only use VAG oil in my A2 and the engine is almost as tight and sweet as a new one at 121k miles.

  52. As stated before it’s the electrical connections that make a bad Renault NOT the electronics! Had an Espace that need a thump on the dashboard to operate the blowers…. shocking dry joints on the relay boards. A lot of today’s semiconductors and board assemblies come from a handful of manufacturers, it’s how they are connected to the rest of the system that matters.

  53. @64,The thing is,the french are way,way ahead with vehicle technology,even the Japenese and Germans because they are subsidised by thier governments,trouble is making it reliable,for example,TPMS via radio on Laguna and Megane ten years ago?

  54. Yawn. Same old shit trotted out. Fiat’s have shit quality, French cars, etc etc.

    My Xantia Activa was built like a brick out house – far more solid than the two 800s I owned some years before. Equally, the Alfa 156 I had was perfectly reliable – and ran even better once the previous owner bodges were removed.

    My brother-in-law’s girlfriend has a 10 year old Clio that sees no maintenance and it just goes. No fuss, quiet, reliable and reasonably economical.

    Now, as someone else said – is it time that this stupid car xenophobia is stopped? There are good and bad designs from every nation, certainly not exclusively the French or Italians.

  55. Car reliability is luck of the draw, we had a 2007 megane cc for 3 years from new, all it needed was a headlight bulb in 36000 miles. My company Toyota avensis had new radiator, intercooler, steering parts,and several other faults, my last insignia had all sorts of problems including a leaking radiator, I’m back in a new avensis now, no faults yet but it’s only a few months old.

    The dacias will be a hit, I bet they out sell MG 100 to 1 if not higher.

  56. “Unfortunately personal experience of ownership of a number of french cars, reliability surveys and an ex wife who used to sell Citroen (so know something of the multitude of problems) tells me French cars are simply not reliable.”

    Eh, most of mine (C6 being the exception) have been fine, and of more relevance, it’s been the BRITISH dealers that have made them unreliable and unpleasant to own when small faults appear.

    C3’s been fantastic so far. Really cannot fault any aspect of it.

  57. It would be a pity if Dacia set off their UK campaign by targeting those who don’t have a pot to pish in, but wanted a new car, any new car, however awful and outdated. Hyundai, Proton, and Daewoo went down this road for many years with tabloid newspaper advertising and “ownership packages” with emphasis on monthly, or even weekly payments. Most of the money was probably made out of finance, rather than profit on sales.

    Didn’t entirely work – the products were identified with a undesirable demographic, and usually led short and brutal lives.

    Better far to follow an EasyJet or IKEA (in their early UK days) model, aiming at savvy middle-class consumers with a ‘why pay more’ attitude.

    (The IKEA message has been almost completely lost in translation to British consumer mores, but when they opened in Warrington, there was no advertising, no finance or storecards, and no delivery service – the whole rule was that if you wanted the goods, turn up with the cash, and the means of taking them home…)

  58. Sensible move by Renault as the lure of a new car appeals to many. What the car is is less important.

    Idealc for the type of person who bought a Lada in the 80s.

    I’d never buy one as its just not for me but a reader of this site is not the target market for this car anyway. Mind you I’d be unlikely to buy a Renault either.

    As for quality – if the Logan can survive being a taxi in Bucharest then they must be tough, maintanable with a hammer and easy to do bodywork repairs on.

    I predict they may replace Renault in the UK

  59. All I can say is Richard you have been fortunate. Don’t get me wrong I loved my XM’s and still miss the estate. The Xantia Exclusive bells and whistles estate was a solid car BUT had too many niggly faults and the finale of a C5 Exclusive estate (after 7 Citroens and 10 French cars out of 55+ cars to date in total) came when the rain sensor OPENED the wndows everytime it bleeping rained! And this was all when my wife worked for Citroen and we still couldn’t get the faults sorted. To give balance my new Ital in 1982 was total cr8p too, everytime it rained I needed to wear wellies or bale out the footwells. However I can also decide who not to spend my money with and for political reasons it will never again be on products of a French company. I also agree their is a market for a Dacia type product range and could see the brand displacing Renault in their mad rush to sell electric cars…….

  60. It will be interesting to see how Dacia will work on the UK market. Here in Germany it is a gold mine for the dealers (and Renault). No price dumping, no pre-reg cars and most customers pay cash (the list price!). Conditions others could only dream of!
    The new Sandero is not a rehash of the old one, it is a brand new car – surely an excellent offer at under 6000 pounds. If the old Dacia Logan and 1st generation Sandero are used as a benchmark, there is not much heard about unreliability. They are liked by Taxi operators as well as families. It seems that Dacia manage to build these cars solid and reliable. Recent tests also have been very favourable here in Germany.

  61. I live in blighty, own my own “BRITISH” manufacturing company. Spend every spare minute in France. Drive a Subaru built in Japan out of choice.

    Now I have only owned one Renault, a clio 1.9D. I brought it for £600, put 45,000 miles on it (without spending a dime on it) sold it without a ticket fo £200. a year later.

    I used an F reg sterling 2.7 (when it worked) as a work car. It drank faster than me, even if it was driven very gently and that car every joint was suspect.

    Quit beating the French up, at least they still produce cars that people want to buy in a volume market place. Produce from scratch too.

    For what its worth I think the duster would be worth a punt.

  62. @70

    Certain german marques have a bit of a ‘burberry’ effect and are aspirational items for what you might call an ‘undesirable demographic’.
    Doesn’t stop fleet sales to junior assistant deputy regional sales managers though.

  63. If the French produce cars people want then why are PSA and Renault in the mire with collapsing sales and struggling financially? I admire the perception they had in taking dacia into the market they have and it is one of the success brands of the moment albeit probably more from luck of benefitting from recession than planning. If anyone remembers Dacia was originally due to be introduced into the UK in 2008.

  64. @74, Jezza,

    ”The French produce cars that people want to buy in volume”…

    Well yes, if you are talking about small and medium cars. Nobody wanted the latest Laguna, nor the Espace (Renault’s signature large people carrier that once defined the breed), which hardly shows them as a company who know how to succesfully design and market everyday larger vehicles to business users- crucial for that market segment. Their smaller cars tend to be bought more by private buyers who may be less well informed about such things as resale values.

    I’ve also driven a Peugeot 207 in the last couple of years (now superceded by the 208) and that was very underwhelming.

    I hope this new Dacia proves to be a sensible purchase in the long run.

    They’ll be missing a trick if they don’t produce a boxy light van variant to replace the late Visa based Citroen C15. Small traders and motor factors would snap them up.

  65. People keep talking about the car being French. It’s Romanian. The company is French by ownerhsip. The low price comes from low labour costs in Romania and from the re-use of Renault developed technology.

  66. Guys,

    It isnt just the French manufacturers that are in the mire.

    Seat/Saab/GM are struggling too.

    The global economy is struggling, and in France cars are expected to last 20 years. The MOT (technic) is every 2 years and is a lot more flexible than here.

    Whilst the Espace stopped selling, the Scenic and Grand Scenic sell well.

    Besides, Mercedes use the Renault diesel engine in the “NEW” A class. so its not all bad.

  67. @Keith Where are the figures for the leasing deals available? I’ve had a search but haven’t found them yet. Would be interested in the deposit for the £100 a month deal.

    There are 3rd party companies offering Dusters for huge monthly payments, i guess they expect them to lose a lot of money in depreciation…

  68. Funny how the French cars I’ve owned through various experiments with bangernomics have been amongst the most reliable – including a Saxo, two MkI Lagunas and a ZX. Currently there’s a 205 and a 406 in my household, both of which have been as reliable and durable as any other car I’ve owned over many years.

    Perception can be very different from reality in the motoring world.

  69. At the time of writing, number of comments on this Dacia thread = 83. Number of comments on MG3 thread = 47.

    As they say in Interweb-land – LOL!

  70. Funnily enough I was thinking the same^^^^^^!

    However for those of you not aware SAAB are dead and SEAT whilst struggling are at least part of VAG. And i imagine MBZ have made damn sure the Renault engines are built to their standards of quality control.

  71. I had a Fiat Punto that suffered a blown head gasket (which appeared to be common as I had a few colleagues with Puntos that had suffered the same) and it needed a load of suspension work (at 65k miles) so chopped it in for a Focus (the Focus wasn’t bad but the dealer, sheesh after sales support was terrible!).

  72. Also the UK cars are coming from a Renault/Nissan Alliance factory, so should have no issue with build and reliability and they were also no.2 in a 2010 JD power reliability survey in Germany.

  73. @70 does that mean that if you bought a large piece of furniture called ‘Knob’, there were no staff members around to help you carry your large ‘Knob’ to the car??? Shocking.

  74. @87.. Yep, renault/NISSAN alliance… As for so called silly ‘customer’ surveys – nope, the problems were as a proportion of warranties taken out on each model.. Renault Laguan or Megane (can’t remember which one) took multiple spots at the top…. Figures listed by the warranty company.

    And are people really buying French cars?? Most wouldn’t touch the large fully loaded ones with a bargepole historically, and the rest aren’t being bought by general public anyway……..

    As for SAAB, well they knew how to build cars but they never did tow the line… Then again, perhaps GM’s line was flawed.. Either way, neither of them seemed to know where each other’s backside and elbows were. SAAB built great cars but it was the business that was all over the place.

  75. What a load of hot air and bollocks by some commentators:

    It deserves to do well and I kind of think it will. Renault have seen the light and realised the gave is up on their own brand in the UK.

    Dacia being rugged no nonsense stuff is the perfect antidote to overhyped flash tin buckets.

    Rugged old school transport with no frills and a cheap cheap price tag – How can it fail?

  76. In the USA, that would be an equivilent price, at current exchange rates, of about $9,999. I believe the cheapest new car availble in the USA is a de-contented, stick shift, no a/c, Mexico assembled Nissan Versa at about $14,000 plus sales taxes and fees or really on the road for about $15,000 that is more to get people into the showrooms to then hopefully buy a more expensive version. Perhaps this is the goal of this Dacia. Until the Chinese pay off enough politicans in the USA, I doubt we will see any car with the price of this Dacia model in the USA soon.

  77. “So, the news that filtered through today was interesting. Dacia’s UK launch in January 2013 is really beginning to look interesting with the news that the Sandero supermini will be hitting the market at £5995 – to become Britain’s cheapest car.”

    I bought my Honda for £1400, surely that beats the ‘cheapest car’ record?
    I’m sure others can beat that…


    • Hehe… I can beat that – bought my Maestro 11 years ago for about 250 Euros. It is still going strong with hardly any mechanical repairs and 60k miles since than. Another 11 years on and I am sure I will not even find a Dacia Sandero that cheap, although it would make a good replacement for my no-frills basic Maestro 1.3…

  78. I drove one in Bulgaria while visiting friends in Varna,it drove ok-why shouldnt it,but i would never want one.A pal years ago bought a Dacia Denim (oh god)so he could replace the doors on his early Renault 12! the Denims are probably rarer than the 12 now!they will sell but not in droves,which will probably open an argument on the lines of selling more than MG!

  79. Jezza@ 74, mentions the new Dacia should be worth a punt. Up here a punt is a term used for a plimsoll, a deeply unfashionable( even in my day 30 years ago) piece of footwear that trainers have mostly replaced, even if David Tennant wearing them led to a mini revival. Wonder if there is some link there.

  80. Is there a non PAS, ABS and no airbag version? After a year (and 35K miles) in my Mk2 Golf GTI I find I can live without them

  81. @82
    It extends to the large french cars as well, I’ve had XMs and R25s and very few issues with either, not somthing I can say with the overated BMW junk I have owned

  82. @33
    French cars not durable??? go for a holiday in africa, some of the worst roads the world has to offer. And what do you see on them? French cars and W123 mercs.. and thats about it and not just new french cars, old ones, some very old ones, 405’s are common, yes I know there was a factory in kenya that was still turning them out till recently, but I don’t think there’s been one making 404s and 403s for a very long time, yet they are not a rare sight

  83. I reckon French cars reached their peak in the 90s, getting reliability, rustproofing, quality sorted but unfortunately got too complex after that 🙁
    Same statement could be true of Mercs.

  84. @101 let’s see if you can do without that abs and airbag when you crash into the back of a lorry. I’ve managed to do without my airbags all my life so far but I’m glad it’s there, and the abs has definitely avoided the odd collision.

  85. I wonder if the Sandero will be a big draw for people who used to buy Ladas, tempted by the very low purchase price and the fact the car has little electrical to go wrong. Now that Lada and Proton, the successor in this market, have gone, and the other budget brands have moved upmarket, I can see the Lada and Proton market latching on to Dacia.
    Should the Sandero prove reliable, and surveys in Germany suggest it is, plenty of people will be walking into the showroom tempted by a £ 5995 car and then paying the £ 100 to have the afterfit stereo fitted. I think the Sandero is this decade’s Proton Persona.

  86. According to Euro NCAP, 2008 MKI Sandero was 3*, so is the Duster. Dacia is this Millenium Europe success story, it seems that Sandero2 is €7900 like the previous one… It is what it is: a Renault parts bin special, mostly a Clio, looks ok with painted bumpers, with less leccy it might stay on the road for longer!!! It’s financially tempting, there’s only £6K to lose, though you might get £2500 after 3yrs, losing ONLY £3500, it’s less than a Fiesta just leaving a showroom!!! As for reliability surveys, well, wasn’t Proton in top 10 thanks to Mitsubishi models’ re-ash? As for built quality, Dacias are built by people who are happy to have a job, Renaults-at least in France, as well as PSA products- are built by dis-grunted people who have to give up their “privileges” one by one in order to keep their jobs, no strikes but it must feel like in BL factories in the 70’s: shoddy workmanship, hatred of the company with disastrous results in built quality, Spanish workers at Renault also had to put their pants down and agree to “adapt” or face redundancy.

  87. Just ‘built’ one online and I only managed to break 11K by ticking every box available- including silly things like leather interior, touring packs and European tool kits. Suddenly, the Renault Twingo and Clio look ridiculously expensive!

  88. @108, The Lada buyers of the past are already in the ground,the bulk of the buyers of this will be nearly there.I dont like this car at all,but who am i to preach?
    I hope its a flop and folk buy second hand nearly new cars instead to keep the domestic economy going in a small way.

  89. what will a second hand one be worth?? pocket money prices i would guess, no fancy gadgets to go wrong though on the plus side…

  90. @110, will.f,

    I can’t believe that they are offering leather interiors- kind of misses the point of being functional and cheap. Be interesting to see how many people will actually opt for it, rather than spending the money on something more mainstream- with an image but not so opulent.

    If MG really wants to enter the British market- now would be the time to counter the Sandero with a 21st Century Morris Minor- simple, functional, niche, and stylish- to complement the 3. Like the Fiat 500 it should be retro but well executed.

  91. The big advantage they have over the old lada, skoda etc.. Is they have the latest engines, not old of date units but Renaults latest units the same you get in the latest clio. And I’ll have money on it the ncap test will be a decent result for passenger safety, it may lose out in other areas due to being so basic but I bet the head on impact will be good.

  92. I hope Francis Brett is wrong and is forced to eat humble pie, because whether he likes it or not, Dacias represent jobs here in Britain for Renault dealer staff, and Renault UK HQ staff, parts distributors, car transporter drivers..Or would he like Renault UK to vanish, along with hundreds of dealers & thousands of jobs?

  93. I hope Francis Brett is wrong and is forced to eat humble pie, because whether he likes it or not, Dacias represent jobs here in Britain for Renault dealer staff, and Renault UK HQ staff, parts distributors, car transporter drivers..Or would he like Renault UK to vanish, along with hundreds of dealers & thousands of jobs?

  94. @117,A lot of Renault dealers went to the wall as soon as Renault UK pulled out of the motobility scheme so thier ever deminishing market share is thier own fault, like the cars few want,the previous generation megane sold well here because it was Renaults biggest market for the car,not so now.
    I wont be eating humble pie,not one bit.You only have to look at the closure of Fiats massive parts warehouse in warrington to see things are a changing.

  95. £5995 for a Dacia? I bought a BMW M5 for £5750 and one year later it will be worth about £5750.

  96. Elsewhere (in the Forum), our host has just published MG’s latest attempt at a press release and ‘photography’; the comments say it all.

    Meanwhile, Dacia have just published the latest batch of shots for the Sandero:

    An object of beauty it ain’t (although I’ve seen much worse) and Dacia have certainly been raiding the Clio parts bin but let me give a bit of advice to Longbridge: you know that “3” thingy you’re planning to launch here sometime next year, possibly? Just. Don’t. Bother.

  97. It isn’t a bad looking car, especially when you look at the price, and budget brands here in the UK are on the increase. Aldi, Lidl, B&M, Home Bargains, and pound shops..These all keep opening new and ever bigger stores. I guarantee that they shift more metal than MG, which let’s face it won’t be hard, especially with the idiots they have currently running Longbridge. This is what the 3 should be priced to compete with, not the Polo/Fiesta/Fabia et al

  98. Let’s see, in 18 months our sandero has covered 30k. Absolutely nothing has gone wrong and servicing is dirt cheap. On a run, low 70s mpg, free road tax and cheap insurance.
    Tell me why I should care about the badge?

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