Stephen Norman, Marketing Director, Groupe Renault Monde

How much of Dacia’s success on western European markets is due to marketing and how much to the current context ?

Ever since the 2004 launch of the Logan in Western Europe, Dacia has never denied its low-cost position on the market. While Logan and Logan MCV – another original seven-place concept – are probably described as low-cost because of their designed and target customers, the arrival, in 2008, of Sandero, revolutionized Dacia once more, as a brand: not only does it offer affordable, roomy products, it also seduces by its design.

In fact, with Sandero, Dacia managed both to establish itself  in Western Europe as an active renown brand and to establish the low-cost idea as an attractive concept, such as Ikea or H&M.

If our marketing succeeded in communicating all of the above, then Dacia “Made in Romania” played the major part in it; and, of course, the economic downturn forced or rather encouraged consumers to reconsider all their absurd prejudices on semi-premium cars.

Had you foreseen, in any way, the current evolution of events ?

The production facility in Pitesti reached its maximum capacity and we would need additional units – that is the reason why I would say we have not foreseen the real dimension of the programme. Despite all, our plans include a significant development of Dacia’s output facilities.

How difficult is it to communicate, from a marketing viewpoint, on so many markets ? As far as Dacia is concerned, which would the commons elements be and wich the differences ?

It’s not a question of difficulties, it’s a question of understanding each market.

The marketing of a car is a manifold process, unlike the marketing of other brands, such as Coca-Cola or Levi’s Jeans.

In my opinion, there must be a main road, along wich Dacia’s marketing worldwide should line up. It’s a wide road, and the important thing is for all of us to drive in the same direction, be it  on the left or on the right side.

More precisely, there are three general marketing strategies for Dacia :

a) In Romania. Local market, market leader – pride and confidence
b) In developing countries, such as Algeria, Morroco, Turkey, a more traditional approach, almost in the manner of Ford or Opel.
c) On saturated markets in Western Europe, where Dacia plays a more revolutionary role – “cross the line, dare” !

What are the changes generated by Dacia in Renault’s marketing strategy, both at European general level and at national level ?

Dacia is a brand in its own right within Renault Group’s Brand Porfolio and, as a result, it is a competitor for Renault, and I would say, especially for Renault.

We will not change the way we do our marketing for Renault only because its competes with Dacia – there are enough clients for both! But we have to make sure that the two brands enjoy equal attention and fairness on our part, and that we provide sufficient resources for both.

Do you believe  that Logan and Sandero are still perceived as low-cost models – since you insist on communicating it ?

Yes, as long as we understand  very clearly that “low-cost is beautiful” ! We all buy from Ikea, girls and women buy from H&M. Such is Dacia’s territory – what else could be more important ?!

Do you believe that Dacia will develop sportier models in the near or more distant future ?

Dacia as a brand and a sporty product range is not a contradiction in terms, provided that the market point to such a demand. We have no plans in the near future, it is obvious that there is no demand in that respect – still, your question is a challenge to consider this possibility even further!

On which market did you use the most aggressive marketing policy for Dacia ?

As of March 2010 – after the Geneva Motor Show – the answer will be “in each and avery of them” ! Up to now, the answer would probably be Romania (Dacia’s local market), North Africa (developing market) and Germany (saturated market).

Is there a market where Dacia’s image is stronger than Renault’s, even if you probably don’t like it ?

Your question contains an incorrect statement! We wouldn’t have anything to win by depreciating Dacia in relation to Renault! Even if Dacia is seen as related to Renault, the first is growing, and we assess it according to standards similar to those of Chevrolet or Skoda.

We want to have two strong separate brands, each having its own marketing scope. Should, one day, Dacia’s image become stronger thant Renault’s, well, then, “Good for you, Dacia!” and “Renault, watch out!”

Should you describe Dacia to someone who has never heard of it, how would do it, in a few words ?

Dacia: social revolution. Outrageously affordable.

Dacia: low-cost is beautiful. These days, Dacia is the most attractive car, don’t you find that ironic?

Dacia: Not only do I need it, I want it.

Taken from: Car Romania, the September Issue