It’s an approach that Le Vot concedes has led to controversy, although his response when challenged on a slew of outwardly disappointing Euro NCAP safety ratings (only one star for the Jogger and Spring Electric and two for the Sandero, largely but not exclusively due to poor ratings for active safety systems, which can prevent accidents but come at a cost both in terms of price and weight) is the very definition of a Gallic shrug.

“We respect the law absolutely. Our cars have everything they must have,” he says. “But we also respect the customer. If they have the money and they choose that is how they want to spend it, then they can buy a five-star-rated car. But if they don’t have the money or don’t choose to spend their money that way, then we’re here for them.

“Euro NCAP has a job to do, and I admire it for that, but we also have a job to do, which is to make mobility accessible for everyone. We add equipment to our cars if they have a clear benefit, a purpose. I ask if a warning telling you if a rear seatbelt is done up is critical or nice to have? Everyone should be free to have their own answer to these questions.”

Nor should this imply that Dacia is slow moving. Just as it added air conditioning to its cars when buyer expectations shifted, so it will launch its first hybrid powertrain in 2023 (in the Jogger) and in Europe it has had the aforementioned Spring – an electric city car with 140 miles of range, available for around £17,000 before grants – on sale for a year already.

And before you ask, I’ve barely finished the question before Le Vot sweeps it away: the Spring officially remains “under discussion” for UK sale. Sales data so far shows 90% of Spring buyers go for a higher trim, while its customers are significantly younger than traditional Dacia buyers – both metrics that point to good long-term business.



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