Dacia sees Sandero Success
Our man in Geneva gets all thrifty on us
By Blake Muntzinger
Good times keep getting better at Dacia (pronounced Da-cha), who presented its flagship Sandero hatchback and its new logo at Geneva. Sandero, the fifth model in the Romanian marque’s range, will go on sale in Europe in June.
Sandero is built on the B0 platform, derived from the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s B platform, as used by Renault Modus, Renault Clio II, Renault Clio III and Nissan Micra, the same used on the Logan; yet it has a more substantial presence due to its smooth front fascia, softer lines, and 155mm (6.1 inches) ground clearance to cope with unpaved roads. Two 1.5 liter dCi diesel motors (producing 70 hp and 85 hp) and two gasoline powered motors – a 1.4 liter creating 70 hp and a 1.6 liter with 90 hp – will be offered.
Inside is no-frills Dacia, functional and simple. It is the perfect layout for basic A-to-B transportation or for someone who does not drive frequently. Sandero seats five people, and has a class-leading 320 liter (11.3 cubic foot) trunk. At a lower price point than any other brand under the Nissan-Renault umbella, it will be interesting to see how sales of Dacia Sandero compare to the similarly-sized and shaped Renault Clio.
Logan’s launch ignited Dacia’s commercial success in 2004 and those Dacia sales show no signs of slowing. Worldwide sales in 2007 increased by 11.7 percent, something many companies in the industry would love to report. French sales rose 73 percent, and German sales nearly tripled.
What about North America? Would Dacia work? In terms of size, yes, it would. Being a compact car, Sandero would go against the Corolla, Focus, and Cobalt, as well as well-maintained used cars. Dacia’s no-nonsense mechanics make it easy to operate, a major plus considering how technical automobiles have become.
Dacia would have the best chance to go head-to-head with Chinese brands, who would be going after the same market. With its proven track record in Europe, Americans could easily warm up to a Sandero.
Horsepower is one weak point needing to be addressed if Dacia were to be sold in North America. Having an engine produce 70 or 85 horsepower, while adequate 25 years ago, is not sufficient for the average American consumer, whether or not it is frequently needed. But considering how speed and driving freedom are staples in American culture, for Dacia to truly succeed, a larger motor would be needed.
But that would defeat Dacia’s objective of being environmentally conscious.
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