Dacia’s success isn’t just related to the worst car market Europe has experienced in decades. Analysts say the company was thriving even before the crisis – simply because they have no competition.
“Historically, doing a low-cost car is something that nobody wants to do,” said analyst Carlos Da Silva of IHS Automotive. “Intellectually, culturally, nobody was prepared to do it” because the culture of car companies is driven by engineers, and engineers want to perpetually innovate. Building a low-cost car requires a different kind of thinking.”
Arnaud Deboeuf, director of Renault’s low-cost program, says it’s not technically difficult to build the cars; you simply need to make the tough choices to make every single part as cheaply as possible. For example, the company has made the decision not to go for the top 5-star European safety rating.
“When we increase the price of the instrument panel … by, let’s say, 5 euros or 10 euros, we must find minus 5 or minus 10 euros somewhere,” he said. “I spend my days asking,’What is the cost of this?’”
Renault is stupid. In some cases, because of saving 5 € or 10 €, something looks terribly cheap! When a car is thousands of euros cheaper than similar non-low-cost cars, they could have at least tried to use 100-200 € specifically to make it look “premium”, even if it isn’t!
But it sells — which means people are having such a poor taste they don’t care for some extremely annoying design decisions that could have been avoided should the car cost 5, 10, or 100 € more.