Selling the soul to the financial devil - Is the rebadged Fluence Dacia's next gen Logan?

22/05/2012 - 12:30 | ,   | Shrawan Raja

You won't be shocked to learn that Dacia has been working on the next generation Logan for the past few years. What once started life as the 'McDonalds of cars' became a huge hit not only for farmers and traders in Romania, but also swept the floor clean in many other European markets.

Dacia Logan facelift front grille

As the Verito in India, the Logan's brand equity has improved steadily. Mahindra, bullish about its future, decided make further investments through a cosmetic operation.

Since its introduction in the mid-2000's the Logan's made a name for itself for being an A-B car. Call it simple, no-frills, to-the-point or bare-bones, the Logan is what Tata Motors would have conceived if the Nano was a three-box.

But with low cost credentials there arises many problems. The main one is the stigma of cheapness that gets associated with it. Dacia, though making cars that are low-priced, are betting on better design and making their products visually more delightful. The Duster and the Lodgy are low cost models but look aspirational.

Changing designs and adding sophistication would bump up price, but Dacia seemed okay with that. When the Logan moved to the next generation, they said it would also move upmarket and offer more for less in a higher segment. According to Jerome Stoll, the sales director of Renault, the new Logan will be introduced later this year or early next year. Unlike the Lodgy which is made in Morocco, the Logan will continue to be manufactured in Pitesti, Romania.

Sounds usual? Wait until you hear this - Romanian news services are publishing reports that the new Logan would be a redesigned Renault Fluence with low-cost interiors. There is not much available on how different the 2013 Dacia Logan will be from the Fluence but according to autolatest.ro, the lights and fascias would be different. Under the hood, Dacia will continue using the Fluence's 1.5-liter diesel engine. This operation could be very similar to Ford India's Figo - the outgoing Fiesta was brought to India and modified heavily to fit a price band.

In recent times, Renault-Nissan have been trying to reuse and maximize a car's usage. They rebadged the Sunny as the Versa in North America. They brought the Kangoo into the Dacia family as the Dokker. Here in India, the Pulse and Scela are badge-engineered Nissan products.

Rebadging vehicles is an easy way to produce a car quickly, but for a brand like Logan that has some values attached to it and turned Dacia synonymous with low-cost cars, how could it possibly stay the same if another model, designed for a different category of buyers, turns up as its successor? The Fluence is a segment-breaker and we're impressed with what it offers, but isn't turning that into a Logan cheating both cars?

We hope cars don't turn out to be like tube lights in the future - they are created in one factory and sold under different roofs sporting different emblems and monickers.

[Source - AutoLatest.ro & Romania-Insider.com]

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