By Ronan Glon
Wednesday, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 5:26 am
 
Renault arguably started the low-cost trend in 2004 when its former CEO Louis Schweitzer decided to sell the Romanian-built Dacia Logan in western Europe. Dacia sales quickly took off and the brand now sells three models: the Logan, the Sandero and the Duster.

Until recently Dacias were sold through Renault dealers. As a result of the brand's success, and perhaps in an effort to dissociate the low-cost image with the Renault losange, Dacia is now starting to develop its own dealer network.

The key to Dacia's popularity is the low price of its cars; for example, a Logan starts at 7,700€ ($10,373). Renault thinks it can do better than that and is planning a car that would cost three times less than the Logan.

On January 1st of next year, GĂ©rard Detourbet, the head of Renault's low-cost division will take over a team tasked with developing low-cost vehicles for both Renault and Nissan. According to La Tribune, one of the projects on the table is the development of an engine and a platform for a car that has a projected base price of about 2,500€ ($3,300).

It goes without saying that this yet-unnamed car will be developed with emerging countries in mind, but it could also make its way to Europe, where it would have virtually no four-wheeled competitors. Despite the Nano's shortcomings, Carlos Ghosn has stated several times that the ultra low-cost would be a good segment for Renault and Nissan to explore.

No further information is available about the car but it will likely not wear a Renault badge.

Other low cost projects for Renault include a Twingo-sized car aimed at the Brazilian market, and a minivan called the Lodgy that will be revealed in the next couple of weeks and make its official debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

References
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