We took advantage of Dacia’s presence at ‘Automobile Barcelona’ to interview francisco hidalgo, General Manager of the brand in Spain. Dacia is the brand that has the largest market share for sales to individuals – -8.1 per cent in 2022 – and is set to grow the most with this market expected to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2023. The brand accounts for about 90 per cent of car sales with LPG and entered the ‘camper’ market as a leader, along with Jogger-like tours.
What is the secret of Dacia’s success?
Providing essential items to the people without any shortage or excess, but giving the right products to the people requires customization. Twenty years ago that car was a Logan, an alternative to a used car that was modern, reliable, and safe. This was necessary 20 years ago. Today the public has higher expectations in terms of technology, finish, safety etc., and Dacia has been able to adapt to the changes in its offering with models like the Electric Spring, the new Jogger Hybrid or the LPG range with Eco. Labels, but that’s only half the story. The second part is what happens in society: with the pandemic, people no longer want to buy frivolous things, and prefer to buy Dacia. So there is a double movement: the success of the products and the change in purchasing trends.
Most Dacias on the road are SUVs or crossovers, which are the most ‘fashionable’ segments. How did you get this success?
We were the first brand that allowed common people to buy SUVs. We launched the Duster in 2010, and the Sandero ‘crossover’ was one of the first to launch the ‘Stepway’ variant, and we have always supported this style of connecting with nature. The design is now more attractive, but Dacia’s positioning has been in place for many years, and it is now that we have brought more coherence to the image of the whole range, first with a new logo which has been incorporated in record time. The whole family, then, with a new image at all dealerships and, finally, anticipated trends, for example, a new ‘Camparized’ jogger with a double bed or tent that we can order at the dealership.
You are practically the only brand committed to LPG with an eco label and very low cost of use. Is it good or bad to be alone in this market?
The strategy within the Renault Group is to give people what they need at a fair price. We are not going to be a technology pioneer, because Renault will have that role: electrification, autonomous driving, Google… We will arrive when the customer is ready, and the customer now requests an eco label with a reasonable purchase and use cost. Is. For us that technology is now LPG, which for a few hundred euros more allows us to have an eco label, low emissions and low cost fuel and low volatility compared to others. The fact that other brands do not bet on LPG is, above all, due to the fact that each brand has to concentrate its investments on a single technology because they do not manage to develop all of them, and we Let’s say LPG is there, and we would like to keep it up to Euro 7 regulations as its demand continues to grow.
All cars have gone up in price and Dacia too. Are the cheap Dacias running out?
Cheap cars no longer exist. Logan costs 6,000 euros, Sandero 8,000 euros, and some competitors from common brands cost ten thousand euros. All this was exacerbated by increased costs of raw materials, supplies, transportation and technologies to meet emission standards. Today a Dacia costs at least 15,000 euros and it is not a cheap car anymore. The equation is now what do I get for my money, and Dassia is there and will remain unbeatable. For this reason, almost everything we sell is a high-end model, like the new Xtreme, not an entry-level version.
Are you worried about the arrival of Chinese manufacturers?
Dacia is the brand that is growing the most in the Spanish market compared to 2022 and last year it was the leader in individuals. We are growing rapidly in demand, so we are not concerned with the arrival of new brands but with the ‘size of the pie’. The Spanish market is not at the level of sales we need as a country, and these figures will affect many open fronts with the electric vehicle, such as where the cars or the batteries are being manufactured. We are entering some years in which the future of the automobile industry in Spain and Europe is at stake, and not of each brand.