Dacia is the small brand on the rise. In less than twenty years, the manufacturer has renewed itself to offer cars more suited to European tastes. Is the Dacia drawing really different? We asked the question to David Durand, the design director.
Dacia is no longer a little thumb. In the galaxy of car manufacturers, this is now a brand that matters! The story of Dacia in Europe is a rather crazy bet by Louis Schweitzer, the boss of Renault. In the 2000s, he thought about launching an affordable car that meets all mobility demands at the lowest possible price. An equation is not necessarily easy to solve when you start from scratch. Do we draw a Dacia like we draw a Renault? David Durand, the design director of the Romanian brand, opened the doors of the style center to us, partially located in Guyancourt, in Yvelines.
Clean up the design to get to the essentials
To the question: what are the main design elements of Dacia?, David Durand simply answered: “ This is going to be important! The style boss is used to quoting Dieter Rams. This German industrial designer, who officiated at Braun in the 1970s, used to say that ” Less, but better in other words, “less is more”, explains David Durand. In other words, he said, to create good design is to really choose what is important. Moreover, usually the designs we remember are quite simple. In our approach to smart engineering (editor’s note: smart engineering), it comes from asking whether this chrome piece in the middle of the dashboard is really important, for example “.
For David Durand, it would be pretentious to say that they do frugal design. So the manager believes that the Duster has succeeded in imposing itself simply because “ its simplicity “. Dacia’s philosophy is to have “ relatively simple volume, smooth edges or even clean intersections », Details to our interlocutor. These clean lines help make the design more timeless, he says. ” A Dacia customer has kept his car for eight years. We have longer than usual life cycles said the style director.
Convince the interest of a simple design
When it came to the European market in 2005, Dacia ended up with the Logan. ” We were all surprised by the reactions in France and we found this car to suit the people. “said David Durand. At the moment, the design teams ” realize that there is something “. However, David admitted that the first generation Logan was not ” very attractive “. Since then, the designer and his team began to make cars that were simple, economical and the design gave a sense of durability. ” There are many reflexes we have for a “mainstream” brand that you have to forget when you work with Dacia said David. ” The basic reflex of a designer is probably to put a lot “, he laughed.
In this reflection, the design director often likes to mention the electric seats. ” There are motors, cables, buttons, weight, additional power consumption. A Dacia customer, once he gets his seat fixed, he won’t repeat it every day. And it’s still not the end of the world to pull a lever and adjust your seat by hand. So we consider it redundant explained David Durand, who preferred put the money saved in a place where it is more useful “or simpler” help lower car prices “.
Combines looks with function
In our interview, David Durand told us that 60% of a car’s impact comes first from its proportions, then from the style. ” The Duster’s success is also its proportionshe argued. With a good width, a good height, a suitable tire size, we know that we will have less need to apply makeup afterwards and that we can enjoy having a simpler design. This is the guarantee of success, according to him.
The ambition of the Dacia teams is alsothere are vehicles that fulfill the purpose for which they are built. ” We try to avoid giving SUV characteristics to a car that isn’t. “, explained our interlocutor. He cites as the best example the Duster, which has real cross-country ability. In Dacia, our vehicles are practical, easy to clean and fully usable to accompany their owners in their outdoor activities “, he related.
A Franco-Romanian design
Dacia’s style center is split between two countries: Romania, the brand’s country of origin, and France. However, ” being a designer in Bucharest or the suburbs of Paris, it makes no difference David Durand said. Thanks to the magic of virtual meetings, teams move forward on projects simultaneously. ” For distribution, I would say that the entire project initiation phase, i.e. from the first stroke of the pencil to the convergence models, is done on average ” assurance of the manager, specifying that the final design was decided instead in France. The Covid health crisis has accelerated new technologies such as digital modeling. ” Today, we grind clay models (note: clay) at the same time in France and Romania and we benefit from the same thing in the same place continued David Durand. And to explain that they remain quite pragmatic when it comes to designing models. ” If we have three proposals that are still hesitating, we put the method and we make three models “. On the contrary, if they have THE good idea, they stop spending.” We try not to push consumption “said David Durand. Once the final design is validated, the project will return to Romania for the full industrialization phase. ” The possibility of stamping, docking of parts… is done in Romania, just opposite the engineering offices that develop the car “, he says.
“Degradation of the culture of Dacia”
” Many people today say to themselves: “I have seen the last Dacia. It’s the same size as my old car, half the price, and the design is super attractive. it’s cool! ” “, continued David Durand. ” The brand is changing “says someone who likes” bring down this first culture of Dacia » so that it can be with customers coming from different universes. ” We have two types of customers “said the master of style. There are original Dacia customers, whose philosophy ” important “is above all, but there are also many people to come” upper segments “and who say to themselves that” enough to put €45,000 on a new car! David Durand added that this money saved allows them to enjoy buying a carbon bike, building a veranda or funding a child’s education. ” At Dacia, they chose to spend their money more freely “, he concluded.