SPAIN: Renault says Dacia origin no issue for UK consumers

By Simon Warburton | 4 December 2012

Renault insists UK consumers will not question the Romanian and North African origin of its new Dacia brands ahead of their imminent British launch in January and May next year.

The new low-cost Dacia Sandero and Stepway models will be produced at the Pitesti plant in Romania and at the Somaca site in Casablanca for regional markets such as Morocco and Tunisia.

Starting from the second half of next year, the new Sandero will also be manufactured at the Tangiers plant in Morocco.

"I don't think there is an issue, where the Dacia is made, because they [British consumers] already have the Micra," Renault UK managing director, Thierry Sybord, told just-auto today (4 December) in Malaga for the vehicles' Spanish test drive.

"What came out, as long as you are transparent, most countries see the value of the vehicle, it is not an issue. In Holland, it has never been an issue, people were not talking about that.

"When you have the right product at the right price, it is a question of choice and confidence. Dacia is a brand we want to deliver at the right level of service to the customer."

Dacia Sandero and Stepway models will retail from GBP GBP5,995 (US$9,660)and GBP7,995 respectively - the latter price being revealed for the first time this week on the Spain test drive - with the French automaker saying they have already attracted interest from online purchasers.

Renault said 1,700 pre-orders had already been taken in the UK with 1,000 of those purchased online. The Duster SUV and new Sandero will be introduced to the UK in January, with the Stepway brand following next May.

Internet sales started last September in Italy, with Holland following suit since March this year. UK customers were able to pre-order online from June this year, with the new Sandero model available online a few weeks ago.

And launching the new models in the UK - which in common with most of Europe is implementing a drastic series of austerity measures including deep spending cuts to reduce its massive deficit - Renault pointed to the new cars' price attractiveness.

"We want to change thinking in a stagnant automobile industry," said Renault Dacia product manager, Adam Wood. "The Sandero is the UK's most affordable car at GBP5,995 - Stepway is the UK's most affordable crossover.

"The car market is a notoriously complex world, but in the design of our cars, by economising the cost of the unnecessary, we focus on the needs of the customers."