Dacia Car History: Simplicity and Reliability Redefined

1966-1970 – The start of the Romanian car industry

Dacia’s origins date to 1966, when the Romanian state-owned company built a car factory in Pitesti. Two years later, the brand signed a cooperation agreement with Renault and began manufacturing several models under French patents.

The Dacia 1100 (1968) is based on the R8 and has an “S” version with a racing look that corresponds to the TS finish of the French model (uses the R12 mechanics). Later comes the Romanian “brother” of the R12, the Dacia 1300 (1969), a vehicle with an exclusive series intended for senior Romanian party and government members.

1971-1980 – End of the agreement with Renault

The Romanian brand launched the family version of 1300 in 1973. After two years, a new model arrives, the 1302 pickup. Finally, and after ten years, the agreement between Dacia and Renault comes to an end.

1981-1990 – Solo career

The Romanian manufacturer continues its path independently and launches numerous models, such as the Dacia 2000 (equivalent to the R20) or 1320 (1987).

1991-2000 – The acquisition of Renault

In 1991, the 1325 Liberta was released; Furthermore, an industrial cooperation project between Renault and Dacia is being investigated. A year later, the 1307 and 1309 double cabs were launched.

The Romanian company decided to tackle a plan in 1995 to manufacture four million vehicles by 2010: the objective is to accelerate its expansion in markets with excellent growth potential. This year the first car designed entirely in Romania appears, the Dacia Nova.

In 1997, the brand exceeded 100,000 units produced and decided to develop a low-cost, basic model immediately baptized by the international press as “the $ 5,000 car”. After two years, Renault acquires 51% of the capital of Dacia. This participation increased to 81.4% in 2000, the date the first model fruit of the collaboration appeared, the Dacia SuperNova.

2001-2009 – On the assault of the European market

Renault increased its shareholding to 92.72% (2001) and invested 489 million euros (1999-2004) for the modernization of Dacia (improvement of production centers, quality increase, staff training, and start-up of an engine and gearbox assembly line).

In 2002, a range of diesel pickups powered by Renault mechanics was born. A year later, the Solenza arrives, replacing the SuperNova. In addition, the French manufacturer practically acquires Dacia in its entirety (99.3%). The presentation of the Logan (June 2004), a pivotal car in the conquest of emerging markets, marks a turning point in the history of the Romanian manufacturer. When production of its sedan and family versions ceased (July 2004), the brand had manufactured a total of 1,959,730 units since 1969. Only two months later, the Logan was launched in Romania.

After being well received, the model adapts to European safety standards for commercialization (June 2005). Its price is shocking: 7,500 euros. Later come the Logan MCV (2006) and the Logan Van (2007). For its part, and after its initial launch in Brazil and Argentina, the Sandero is presented at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. The new Logan arrives in July. Finally, in 2009 the Duster appeared a 4×4 vehicle that allowed the brand to enter a new segment.

Over the last few years, Dacia’s growth has been spectacular: worldwide, it has increased its market share by 11.7% (2008), and its models are marketed in nearly 50 countries (some of them under the Renault brand).

2014 marks the 15th anniversary since Renault obtained 100% control of this low-cost brand.

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