Maxime Fontanier went to ask Denis Le Vot your questions about electrification, maintaining a cheap offer, where Dacias are made and the future of the Manifesto concept. Integrating the brand into a more global policy of the Renault group, the managing director responded directly. Their office: The restyled Dacia Spring.
More than 30 years of racing in the Renault group
Managing Director of the Dacia brand since January 1, 2021, Denis Le Vot joined Renault’s sales department in 1990, after studying at the Ecole des Mines de Paris. During his career, he represented Losange in different parts of the world, from Russia to Turkey, from G9 Europe to Eurasia.
Sailing on Alliance marks, he also knows. In 2018, he was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Committee of Nissan North America. In addition to his current position at Dacia, he is a member of the board of directors of the Renault group.
This rich career in the big house in various management positions gives a very particular legitimacy to the boss of the brand of Romanian origin to answer questions from the readers of Automobile Propre and the public who frequent on our YouTube channel.
The electrification of the Dacia range
Most of our followers’ 78 questions have to do with the electrification of the Dacia range. Thus: ” When will there be an electric family compact? » ; ” Will there be a replacement for the electrified Logan with a tailgate? » ; ” Can you tell us more about the future electric vehicles planned in the range? » ; ” Do you plan to build Spring with more autonomy? “.
Denis Le Vot first emphasized the group’s strategy where ” each brand invested a role “. Renault, for example, is becoming a leader in electricity in Europe “.
And Dacia? ” Its credo is to offer valuable vehicles, with a choice of content, and therefore to have very affordable models. “. In the new market, cars are always more expensive. ” More and more customers are buying Dacias for this reason “, assures the DG.
The example of Spring
” The Spring is exactly a Dacia. It is a car that measures 3.70 m, weighs 970 kg, does not exceed 125 km / h, and is an electric car that has only 300 km of autonomy. You could say that’s not good. But this is a car that costs less than 20,000 euros. no one does that explained Denis Le Vot.
” We are proud to offer electric mobility to as many people as possible. And that is exactly Dacia. Dacia makes choices and enters the market when it has something to offer that is unique and unique in its importance “, he determined.
This is how Dacia intends to develop its traction battery models, at its own pace, by recovering the group’s technologies to electrify its vehicles. ” Next year we will see a hybrid in the Jogger “, promised Maxime Fontanier the CEO of the brand with the new DC logo.
An electric compact based on the Zoé?
” Will we rush to be the first to offer electric cars with 600 km of autonomy and a full recharge in 17 minutes on the highway? The answer is no! says Denis Le Vot, referring to 2036 for a fully connected range.
Our reporter thought that Dacia had recovered ” the well-depreciated Renault Zoé base to create an important vehicle, at lower manufacturing costs, that will meet the demand for an electric compact “. A scenario that seems not to have been preserved due to a technological choice: ” Dacia is now building its range on the CMF-B platform that served as the basis for the Sandero 3 launched 18 months ago “.
And this on a global level. The Logan, Jogger, Duster and future Bigster gradually adopted it. ” The next generation of us is indeed asking electrification “, However, Maxime Fontanier’s interlocutor reported.
Dacia’s move upmarket
The readers of Automobile Propre are concerned about the move to the upmarket observed in Dacia, while they very well assume their choice to buy a cheap car. They fear the gentrification of the brand, as do other groups. So, for example, Skoda and Seat to Volkswagen. ” Dacia remains Dacia “, wanted to reassure Denis Le Vot.
” What is the cheapest car in each range? It’s a Dacia. What is the cheapest electric on the market? It’s a Dacia “, he worried.
” We have the same customers who are looking for the cheapest car – the cheap part of Dacia, but it is surpassed by customers who say “Enough, cars are too expensive now we will make choices, we will buy something simple , which works well”. And so they chose Dacias “, he objected.
The Sandero and the Jogger as an example
The Sandero, whose declination of the Stepway 4,000 euros more expensive was a minority a few years ago, now represents 75% of sales. Same observation on Jogger, where 85% of copies were bought ” in the highest mix of all equipment “.
How can this reversal be explained? ” In competition, a 7-seater vehicle starts at around 25,000 euros. Our first prize is 16,000 euros. Most customers say to themselves, “But at this price, I’ll take the 7 seats, the Wi-Fi, the phone copying, the air conditioning, I’ll take everything.” “, compared to Denis Le Vot.
” We will not really increase the price. The access price is very competitive compared to the competition, but we are in the process of increasing the mix “, he reasoned.
DACIA Spring test: at this price, it will be a hit!
In the questions you sent us, the question about making brand models came up several times. Today,” 90% of Dacias, such as Sanderos, Joggers, Dusters, etc. are made in the same basin as Renaults, because they are cars that come from Renault platforms, with the same suppliers, the same parts manufacturing plant “.
This is why they are grouped together in Romania and Morocco today. For Spring, it’s different, because it already exists. The Renault team hesitated, then decided to import it to France to ” give access to electric mobility to as many people as possible, by bringing it from China where it was made “.
A scenario” very Dacia and which is good for the development of the electric market “, underlined the CEO of the brand.
… and the carbon footprint
What about the carbon footprint of Spring imported from China? ” Full chain carbonation is very complex to calculate. I still think that a small car of 970 kg with a small battery like ours, in general carbonation, even if it takes a boat, is not necessarily the worst car on the market “, estimates Denis Le Vot.
Is it possible to restore the activity in Europe or in France? ” We ask ourselves every day, for the future. But you just need to understand that moving a factory is hard to do, and it won’t solve the problem. The factory is 6% of the cost of the car. There are hundreds of suppliers around that make parts “, he begged.
For illustration: It’s a bit like buying a refrigerator in spare parts and having the parts shipped from all over the world to assemble it at home. From the point of view of transportation and CO2, it is better to buy a refrigerator imported from Asia, because it is difficult to move all suppliers. “.
Hope in Asia through batteries
Advocating for our readers, Maxime Fontanier insists on encouraging hope in Asia for the production of battery cells. His interlocutor invited “ see the question as a whole “, and to talk about it” the entire Renault group and particularly the eponymous brand.
The Losange that wants to be an electric champion, even outside of France, many questions are discussed inside: ” Where do I get the batteries? Battery technology? Machine technology? Bringing back the entire electric car ecosystem to France? With a very clear role in the positioning that the Renault brand takes “.
And for Dacia?
” Dacia is a kind of insurance, or Renault’s spare tire. And this is important for the balance of a group. If electrification happens very quickly in the market, then better, Renault will be there. But if it’s a bit slow, because of the price of cars, because of the economic crisis, Dacia is there in a supporting role. The 2 answer to each other. It’s designed, it’s built as a balance of brands “, developed the DG.
” When will Dacia be electrified? What types of cells? What will be the choice of technologies? All these questions you ask yourself will have answers from the electrical developments of the Renault group. “, he summarized. ” When the time comes, we will use technologies from the Renault group. Like Dacia, Dacia makes choices “, he rephrased.
Many of you have appreciated the concept of the Manifesto, regretting or fearing that it will see a commercial following in Dacia. Maxime Fontanier asked Denis Le Vot about the future of this very attractive minimalist device: “ A competitor to the Citroën Ami, would that make sense to Dacia? “. Delighted, his interlocutor immediately came down: ” I promise you, we never asked ourselves this question. “.
” In general, because Dacia is at a crossroads, we came from a cheap car where design was not that important, and we now realize that we have a lot of potential with the CMF-B platform, that we can sell crossovers. , segment C cars in Germany for 2 years, we told ourselves that we can’t present ourselves in the market like we used to “, he corrected.
” That’s why we re-designed, re-painted the house, re-logoed, re-designed everything. It is to explain what Dacia is and why we seek to be important, to show that being important can be cool at the same time. We told ourselves that to explain it, we have to do it, and there are no limits, no standards, no rules “, he described. ” The competition is open: what will happen to the Manifesto? “, he concluded.
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