Dacia return could capture the motorist’s mood in ‘austerity Britain’

BUDGET CAR brand Dacia could gain a large foothold in cash-strapped austerity Britain, according to CAP, the car information experts.

Experts who produce CAP Monitor, which forecasts tomorrow’s used car prices for the UK motor industry, believe the time is right for “no frills” budget motoring in Britain and point to Dacia’s success in Germany and France as evidence that the brand can win motorists over.

They also believe that success for Dacia could put the brakes on Chinese ambitions to target the UK car market by getting in first to meet demand for good quality cars at around 30% lower prices than existing mainstream offerings.

Few motorists will remember the demise of the original Dacia brand in 1996 and will therefore be coming ‘fresh’ to the name, which now has the advantage of being part of the Renault-Nissan alliance and will enjoy an instant dealer network presence. Although the vehicles are built in Romania they are underpinned by Renault and Nissan technology and built on a platform shared by those manufacturers.

Forecast values are nowhere near class-leading, according to CAP Monitor, but with such low front-end pricing motorists will still save significant money on depreciation – the largest cost element in the ownership of any car.

CAP Monitor editor, Jeff Knight, said: “With Dacia you are effectively getting a car in one sector for the price of a car in the sector below it. This means the Sandero offers the qualities of a good supermini for the price of a typical city car and the Duster provides a compact 4x4 experience for the cost new of a lower medium car.

“What the Dacia brand offers today is very different from previous attempts by some new entrants into the UK in that there is relatively little sacrifice of quality for a very significantly cheaper car. Previously the sacrifice of quality has been too much for most motorists but Dacia provides a no frills approach to basic design, coupled with appropriate levels of equipment and engineering that you can’t fault. Build quality reflects the budget but that does not matter in this case because Dacia is not chasing conquest business from premium brands.

“Dacia will not hold the highest percentage of its original cost new but when you compare the actual money lost over 3 years the Sandero in particular offers some of the best value motoring achievable.

“By returning now there is a strong possibility that the Dacia name could well capture the mood of motorists in austerity Britain. It has already proved to be extremely popular in other cash-strapped European countries but its success in Germany too indicates that the appeal of Dacia does not rely entirely on economic hardship.

“We would also expect Chinese car makers to be watching closely because Dacia will be a significant threat to anyone attempting to impress the British motorist on new car cost alone.”  

CAP’s independent experts analyse the quality, ownership costs, future second-hand values and price performance of every car launched in Britain. Their views are trusted by every major fleet car provider in the UK, who need a genuinely unconstrained opinion on the qualities of vehicles. CAP’s Martin Ward drove the Dacia Sandero on its European press launch in December. His account of the experience can be found in his ‘First Driving Impressions’ blog at www.cap.co.uk/blog