Dacia - Rags to Riches

Robert Donaldson

04 Jul 2018, Blog Post

Dacia formed in communist Romania in 1966 and acquired the basic design and tooling of the Renault 12. Known as the Dacia 1100, 37,546 were produced. An enhanced version with a more powerful engine and twin headlamps, the 1100S was produced in limited numbers for the police and used in motor racing. This is how the relationship with Renault began.

The cars were utilitarian, with few creature comforts. They did try exporting to the UK, but with questionable build quality and rapid advances in car design by competitors through the 1980s, Dacia were soon left behind and generally forgotten by the UK public.

After the fall of communism and little investment in the car maker through the 1990s, Renault saw an opportunity and bought the company in 1999. The plan was to create an entry level brand that could sell to developing markets around the world.

After an investment of €2.2 billion into Dacia to update its facilities and production line, 2004 saw the launch of the Dacia Logan, followed by the Sandero in 2008 and the Duster in 2010. All have had great success across Europe, South America and North Africa, racking up sales of over half a million each year for the last 4 years.

The Dacia secret was kept from the UK consumer until 2013. Renault had seen a gap in the market for a low priced, good quality car for the budget conscious. With a headline offering of a brand new Sandero for under £6,000, the brand has quickly established a 1% market share, but importantly, Renault have let Dacia grow organically through retail sales with little forced activity.

Every month Glass’s analyses Live Retail Pricing data, powered by its Radar product, to establish what the UK’s fastest selling used cars are. Based on over 8.4 million B2C retail car adverts annually from the UK’s leading advertising portals, this data gives dealers an indication of what is selling well across the UK’s used car forecourts.

The chart below shows the split, by manufacturer, of appearances in the top 5 fastest selling models over the last twelve months.

Darcia's lion share of the top 5 appearances in monthly fastest selling used car

As you can see Dacia has the lions share. This is because they are relatively rare as a second hand car, as buyers tend to keep them for longer, when they appear on websites and forecourts they are snapped up. Their low price points also helps.

The same can be said in the wholesale market. They are still a relatively rare site at auction and so garner comparatively strong prices if in good condition. However, one downside is that retail margins can be smaller.

The combination of good products with low list prices and tight used supply, often leads to strong residual values. The data below shows Glass’s trade values expressed as a percentage of original cost new price, for Dacia compared against the overall market for the July 2018 data.

Age      Dacia  Market

  • 1 Year 67.6% 57.7%
  • 3 Year 49.4%  42.5%
  • 5 Year 36.8% 30.0%

Not resting on their laurels, Dacia are launching the new Duster this summer, which looks to keep the brand at the vanguard of the value for money philosophy it has adopted so successfully since its rebirth under Renault.

About the author

Robert Donaldson

Robert DonaldsonUK Car Editor

Born in Acton, London, Robert worked for a number of blue chip organisations including Compaq, British Airways and 3M. Of interest, Robert also owned a repair garage with his brother in the 90s with whom he restored older cars, before joining Glass’s in 2006.