Dacia city car 'not before 2015'
* Smaller model is most likely range addition * No new models due in 2014 * Seven-seat SUV 'not under consideration'...
Dacia is not planning any new model launches until 2015 at the earliest.
The Romanian budget brand has rolled out half a dozen new cars in the past 18 months, including the UK-spec Duster, the new Sandero and Sandero Stepway, and in continental Europe, the Lodgy seven-seat MPV.
Rumours continue to suggest Dacia is preparing to launch a smaller city car – a rival for the Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo – based on the chassis of the current Renault Twingo, which is due to be replaced by the end of next year.
Dacia's brand director Rafael Treguer has denied that the project already has the green light, but admitted to What Car? that it could have appeal. 'Dacia has the potential to go to any area of the market, to any type of car where we see potential for sales volumes,' he said. 'Perhaps this segment [the city car class] could be interesting, but it's too early to say. We're watching the markets, but right now, we're focusing on consolidation.
'We have launched a good, young line-up of vehicles; now we need to focus on developing the awareness of the brand. The UK is developing well but in some other countries we are at a quarter or a third of the awareness of other brands. We will continue to work on our cars, improve them and incorporate features that buyers specifically request – that's how we have to operate – but there are no new models planned in 2014.'
While he declined to rule out a city car, Treguer did suggest that a car bigger than the Duster, such as a seven-seat SUV, has been discounted for now. 'Right now, in Europe, we don't see potential in that segments, so it's not on the table,' he said.
Dacia's sales continue to rise, with an increase of almost 20% across all of the company's European sales markets. It has been doing particularly well in Spain, where the economic crisis and a scrappage scheme have helped it to almost double its sales in a market where almost all manufacturers have reported big drops in volumes.