Dacia to offer 'half price' cars

* New cars for used money... * ...from Renault-owned budget brand * Ford Fiesta rival for half the money...

Dacia to offer 'half price' cars

Dacia the Renault-owned budget brand will use bargain prices to target used car buyers who've never purchased a new car before.

Renault sources have confirmed rumours that this is where the Romanian brand intends to focus a large part of its appeal when it reaches the UK next year. In continental Europe, where Dacias have been sold since 2005, more than 50% of its buyers have never bought a new car before.

To attract buyers from this area of the UK market, Dacia will undercut mainstream rivals by thousands of pounds per vehicle. The launch line-up will consist of the Duster, a Nissan Qashqai-sized SUV, and the Sandero, a Ford Fiesta-sized hatchback.

Well-placed sources have told What Car? that the Duster will start from well under 10,000, and the Sandero could start from less than 7000 around half the list price of a new Ford Fiesta or VW Polo.

Dacias global brand development boss, Rafael Treguer, said: 'We want to make the whole buying process very simple. The trims will be simple, the prices will be simple, and the act of purchasing will be simple.'

That plan extends to a no-haggle policy, with no further discounts offered on the low list prices, for either private buyers or large fleet purchasers. Renault UK is also considering internet ordering, where the only point of contact with the dealership would be for vehicle collection.

The low-frills approach will not extend to warranty which is likely to be a regular three-year, 60,000-mile deal but it will include reduced servicing prices. UK buyers could even be offered a servicing kit online, allowing them to follow streamed videos and complete basic maintenance (oil and air filter changes, for example) themselves.

Dacia used the Geneva show to launch the Lodgy, a five- or seven-seat MPV that is priced from less than 10,000. Renault sources have already confirmed that there is a plan for the car to join the Duster and Sandero in the UK, but its unlikely to happen before 2014.

John McIlroy