Renault’s budget brand Dacia will offer “Shockingly Affordable” prices in the UK from 2013. Dacia Duster SUV under £10k and Sandero under £7k.
This week Renault announced a ‘100 Day Countdown’ to the arrival of the Dacia brand in the UK (well, strictly speaking, that’s a re-arrival) although the reality is that Dacia vehicles won’t actually arrive until January 2013, although you will be order one in June.
One of the reasons for the late arrival of Dacia has been the success the Duster has been having, with Dacia’s plant in Chennai struggling to keep up with demand. But they now reckon they can manage to cope, so RHD Romanian Dacia Dusters, owned by French Renault, will be exported from India to be sold in the UK by January 2013.
And in many ways it’s good timing for the French-owned Romanian brand. As we reported recently, the car market in the UK has polarized in to ‘Premium’ and ‘Budget’ with the middle ground – such as Dacia’s parent company Renault’s products – squeezed in the middle. So the promise of amazingly low prices and good build quality promises much for Dacia.
With the last batch of ‘affordable’ marques – like Hyundai and Kia – moving firmly upmarket, there’s certainly room for a proper budget option in the market. The Dacia Duster SUV promises to arrive at under £10 in 2WD guise, some £6k less than anything comparable. Yes, the Duster is a slab-sided, small-windowed, old-fashioned looking compact SUV, but a bit of brand new rufty-tufty motoring for under £10k can’t be ignored. And it has similar underpinnings to the Nissan Juke.
Equally, the Dacia Sandero (yes, May’s pet love) also offers proper little city car motoring for under £7k. Whether that will be enough to make a hole in sales of cars like Suzuki’s Alto, Swift and Splash at between £6.5k and £8.5k remains to be seen. VW’s SEAT also offers some cracking deals on the Fabia – a great little car – with prices not much over £8k. And all this before Dacia actually arrives.
But a budget brand that appears to be competent and well put together will find a home in the UK. It just remains to be seen if the offerings from Dacia can be as successfully as they have been in France and Eastern Europe, and even in Germany where the Duster beat BMW in the latest J D Power Survey.
But wouldn’t you rather have a two year old Nissan Qashqai for the same money than a new Dacia built down to a price?