How Renault dazzled

with Dacia

Dacia Sandero, 100000 UK sales, Heather Reiss with car at S J Cook and Sons, Bristol

AND THE critics said it would be a nine-day wonder.

When Renault decided to sell Romanian Dacia cars in the UK there was, and I have to say, partly justified feelings that it would not last.

I mean, Renault tried it years ago with a Dacia-built Renault but it just did not take off, the cheap market having developed a love affair with the Russian Lada.

But Renault has now done its homework and ensured that the Dacias under it auspices are well built, dependable and cheap.

And the proof of the pudding comes with the fact that Dacia has sold 100,000 vehicles in the UK since launching here in 2013 and establishing a reputation for incredible value for money and robust reliability.

With her purchase of a new Sandero Stepway TCe 90, Heather Reiss became the brand's 100,000th customer in the UK. Heather collected her new car from S J Cook and Sons, Bristol - her second Dacia in three years.

Louise O'Sullivan, head of Dacia UK, said: "Dacia was launched in 2013 and straight away we had great public interest in the brand. In four years the Dacia community has built up significantly thanks to the annual Dacia Day, a Dacia owners club and major brand partnerships like our one with the Rugby Football League.

"Loyalty to the Dacia brand has never been higher as we're starting to see many customers, like Heather, returning to the brand to trade their old Dacia in for a new one. We wish Heather all the best in her new Sandero Stepway."

It is certainly an amazing achievement for such a bargain basement brand. If you lined up all the Dacias sold to date in the UK, they would stretch more than twice around the M25.

Dacia is not yet a business driver-linked brand with more than 94 per cent of Dacia sales going to retail customers.

And it is amazing how history repeats itself because that cheap car crusader of yesteryear, the Lada achieved massive sales in Scotland, with this success now being mirrored by Dacia. You're most likely to spot a Dacia in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK with a Scottish market share of 4.2 per cent.

The Sandero Stepway is the most popular Dacia model, achieving 35 per cent of all Dacia sales.

And the Sandero Access is still the UK's most affordable new car, still priced at £5,995 four years after it was first launched.

Dacia has won 36 awards in the UK since launching including What Car?'s ‘Best Small Car under £12,000 for five consecutive years for the Sandero.

One of the UK's largest automotive owner satisfaction studies, Auto Express Driver Power, has placed Dacia in its top five best manufacturers for three consecutive years, out of 32 brands featured in the 2016 survey, with customers praising the brand's reliability in particular.

Dacia has a long history associated with Renault, the French brand first working with Dacia plants in Romania in the 1960s, before acquiring them fully in 1999. The brand concept is simple: to shake up preconceived ideas. Dacia produces spacious, robust, high-quality vehicles of original design that are affordable for everybody.

It is all a reflection of the old adage to never say never in the car arena. Years back there were many who would have shrunk from owning a Romanian car, but the change in such attitudes is astonishing with this enterprising brand gaining such an impressive vote of confidence.

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