When you make affordable cars, you kind of look at the world more rationally – electricity is definitely the future and progress in many ways, but it’s still not a cheap technology at the moment. So if you want to continue to sell cars for a reasonable amount of money, you have to start from cheaper sources. “If I were to be completely brutally honest, we will produce internal combustion cars until they are completely banned,” Xavier Martinet, vice president of the Dacia brand, was not afraid of a direct answer.
But as it is said and written, it delivers in one breath. “However, we cannot do without electricity completely, after all, we already offer an electric car, which is a success. We are expanding the range of engines to include hybrids and in the future also plug-in hybrids. The latest example is the Jogger hybrid variant, which already has a twenty-five percent share of this model’s European sales at the moment,” boasted Martinet.
However, the Czech customer will be more interested – and will undoubtedly be pleased that Dacia does not intend to give up LPG either. “However, even the new Duster, which will be shown in a few weeks, cannot do without it,” promises Xavier. However, the novelty will have to learn to live without diesel. “We are not planning a diesel engine for the new Duster, but we are counting on a four-wheel drive. At the moment, I can’t tell you how the all-wheel drive will be implemented, you have to wait a little longer.”
Well, we would have the next few years, or rather the distant future in sight, but what will happen to Dacia when Europe goes entirely electric? That is, if the incinerators are really banned for good? Xavier himself admits that despite the European sales success of the Spring, this electric car is less profitable than other Dacia models. “We will always be a brand oriented towards a lower price, so we will produce more affordable electric cars. We always choose technologies that make sense. You know, I feel that in Europe we want cars to do absolutely everything. Sure, if you have enough money, the car can do absolutely everything,” Xavier shrugs, referring to the Euro NCAP tests, where various electronic safety systems play an increasingly important role. “I think our customer has no doubts about the safety of Dacia models, they just beep less and therefore have fewer points,” Xavier smiles. “When I got into the car at the airport in Prague, the first thing I looked for was where all the beeping was turned off.” You have our great sympathy, Mr. Martinet.
He collected other positive points when he boasted about his newest “servant” when asked by one of his colleagues. “I bought an alpine bike. You know, I like to drive too,” Xavier admitted. “However, I am very much looking forward to the Bigster, it will be the car for me. You know, three kids and two dogs…”
We are undoubtedly looking forward to Bigster in the Czech Republic as well, but we have to wait about two more years. According to Martinet, with the new product there will also be pleasant problems with the production capacity. Dacia currently uses three production plants, and in the first nine months of this year, around half a million Dacias were sold in Europe. “With Bigster, we’re already hitting the ceiling. At least I hope so! But we have a plan, so you don’t have to worry about having to wait a long time for your dacia,” promises Martinet. Currently, the waiting time is around three months.
Of course, China was also mentioned. Especially for a price-oriented brand, the aggressive entry of new Chinese competition could be very unpleasant. “I am convinced that everyone should be afraid of China. We are trying to deal with the new situation, among other things, by working with our image. It is no longer the case that customers choose Dacia only for its low price. Our latest surveys show that the number one criterion is design,” Xavier surprises us. And it’s not just about the look or the new logo, you may have noticed that Dacia will be going to the Dakar in 2025. And right up there with Sébastien Loeb. So far, they have agreed on a three-year cooperation. “We are not saying that we will win the first year. But even Loeb himself made it clear that our project makes sense. Otherwise, of course, he wouldn’t even go for it,” laughs Xavier.
Nice brand, nice boss… We will definitely continue to support Dacia. And not only in Dakar. It’s a very welcome island of affordable mobility that’s dealing with tough times in its own way. And he’s obviously not doing it wrong. I already mentioned that in the first nine months Dacia sold half a million cars in Europe. And I will also add that this is a year-on-year increase of almost seventeen percent. Yes, affordable and normal cars still drag!