The Dacia Manifesto concept car previews the brand’s new direction and a variety of technologies it intends to integrate into future models. We caught up with CEO Denis Le Vot, who detailed what the brand does differently, how it sits alongside parent company Renault and what electrification means for budget-friendly brands.

What’s the main message we should take out of this new brand mission?

“The big message is that the world is changing. We don’t change, but the world is changing. Fifteen years ago we were known as low-cost, for poorer people who could not afford more; people would say it’s not for me as it’s from Eastern Europe. With time, we have proven we are reliable and the cars are working well. People renew with Dacia 60% of the time, and keep the cars a long time.”

What’s your key point of difference?

“We do cars simply and in a modern manner, with 3000 engineers working on the right content. However, weight is at the heart of what we do. This drives fuel consumption, and now CO2 emissions. Our Jogger is 1250kg but has seven seats. Look at the competition; each is 300kg more on average. Because we are light, we have no extra electronics to move, and the result is less money and weight.”

How are buyers changing?

“The world is changing. Look at the Jogger: the competition starts at minimum €25,000, we start at €15,000. At that price, we let them have everything. They see the value, and so 85% then go with the highest trim. We are not low cost, but are the best value for money. We are changing the way we present ourselves.”

How can you grow in the UK?

“We have doubled our UK market share. We are small but strong. In the EU, we are 6% in a market down 12%. The market has come to us. We know we can grow on this platform. The Bigster will tackle the C-segment. It’s the biggest segment in the EU, and in the UK. We’re only present in the B-segment at the moment but are still number three for retail in Europe.

“The UK is a big market, but a high standards market. Brands are very important in the UK.”

You’ve said before you’ll only switch to full electrification at the last minute. Is that still the plan?

“Yes, still at the last minute. Renault will allow Dacia to continue to go longer with ICE. In the group, we have E-tech, which is probably the most efficient hybrid on earth. Renault has made some huge EV investments in gigafactories and R&D. This allows us to make the right choice at the right moment to get the electrification we need.”

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