Groupe Renault

The Dacia Story

At the end of the 1960s, 120 km from Bucharest, close to Mioveni, the Dacia brand was being born, the result of collaboration between the Romanian government and French manufacturer Renault. At the time, Mioveni was just a small village and the plant, which had been created in 1943 to manufacture aircraft engines and equipment, had an annual production capacity of just 40,000 vehicles.

Colibaşi

The plant’s history began in 1943, on the outskirts of the village of Colibaşi, 12 km north of Piteşti (a town some 140 km to the north-east of Bucharest).

Brașov

The first buildings were initially destined for the manufacture of engines and equipment for the fighter planes that were produced at that time at the IAR factory in Brașov. To this day, some of those red-brick workshops can be seen on the site.

UPAC

After the war, these buildings were used as munitions stores. In 1949, they were converted into repair workshops for locomotives. In 1952, the plant began to specialise in the manufacture of parts for lorries and tractors. In 1963, the company, known at first as Uzinele Vasile Tudose, was renamed Uzine de piese auto Colibasi (UPAC).

Renault 12

In 1965, the Romanian authorities decided to develop a national car industry. Given the lack of local experience in the field, they opted for manufacturing under licence. Several manufacturers were approached, including Renault, which won the call for tender with the Renault 12, a vehicle that was still at the prototype stage.

Contract with RNUR

On 6 September 1966, in Bucharest, the framework contract between the Romanian Governement and Régie Nationale des Usines Renault (RNUR) was signed, for an initial period of 10 years. 10 days later, on 16 September 1966, the decision was made to build what would become the future Colibaşi car plant, close to the buildings of the existing UPAC plant.

Intermediate solution

As the R12 would not go onto the French market until the end of 1969 (it was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October of that year), the contract allowed for the temporary manufacture of another vehicle of the same type. Although the R16 appeared to be the Romanian party’s model of choice, it was decided in the end to go with the R8 (the Major version), above all for cost reasons.

1968 Production starts

Construction of the Pitești car plant began at the start of 1967 and was completed a year later, in May 1968. The first R8 Majors rolled off the production line on 3 August 1968, bearing the name Dacia 1100.  The brand name is taken from the ancient name of the land now known as Romania

First model – the Dacia 1100

The plant was inaugurated on 20 August 1968, in the presence of the Romanian head of state, Nicolae Ceausescu. He was given one of the very first of these cars to be produced. Slightly over 37,000 Dacia 1100s would be built by the start of 1972.

1969 - 1969 Launch of the Dacia 1300

The main event in 1969 was the commercial launch of the first Romanian R12s in October, under the name Dacia 1300. The model will prove to be a real commercial success in Romania and in neighbouring countries, when exports of the vehicle got under way in 1971. Another highlight of 1969 came with the merger of the two existing facilities in Colibaşi (UPAC and UAP), under the name UAP.

1973 - Dacia 1300 Break

An estate version of the Dacia 1300 went on sale in 1973, three years after the launch of the equivalent Renault model. This Dacia 1300 will become the basis of several PV and UV versions, of which over two million units will be built over 35 years.

1975 - First utility vehicles

The first utility vehicle based on the Dacia 1300 was built in 1975 and named the Dacia 1302 .

1975 - First utility vehicles

The very same year, Dacia began small production runs of the Estafette van. At the same time, the plant produced gearboxes and front and rear axle assemblies for the Renault Estafette, thus ensuring the cash required for the purchase of production equipment.

End of the agreement with Renault

At the end of the contract signed in September 1966, the Romanian authorities began fresh negotiations with Renault that would result, in June 1978, in a draft framework agreement for the production and assembly of the Renault 18 in Romania. This agreement was never signed, despite conditions that were highly favourable to the Romanian party. This twist in the tale left the Piteşti plant with a range that was produced almost entirely locally.

1980s

At the start of the 80s, the company, which changéd its name to Intreprinderea de Autoturisme Piteşti (IAP), was producing 300 vehicles a day and employed over 20,000 people. The range grew with the launch of a restyled version of the Dacia 1300, now renamed the Dacia 1310. This vehicle will undergo several changes over time, both to its design and its mechanics. Unfortunately, production quality fell after 1980.

1983 - Dacia 1304

1983 saw the launch of the first true Dacia pick-up. This model, with its 1,000 kg payload, will be produced in a flat-bed version and, later, in a crewcab version, which will prove to be a huge commercial success.

Dacia 1310 variants

During the 80s, Dacia developed two variants of the 1310 range, a sports version, which enjoyed some success in Romania, and a short-lived (3 years) hatchback, the Dacia 1320, which sold only 2,500 units.

Post-1990

The 1325 Liberta, a development of the 1320, went on sale in 1991. It was not a great success, despite a name that evoked the new freedoms that were sweeping across the country. Up until 1996, no more than 5,200 units would be manufactured.

1992 - New utility vehicle

The Dacia 1309, a variant of the 1310 Estate, with an open load area at the rear, made its entrance in 1992. This smart vehicle was designed mostly for export, mainly to China. Its production will allow the plant to weather the crisis of the early 90s, when the Romanian car market plumetted by over 40% in just two years.

1995 - Dacia Nova

In 1995, an all-new model appeared in the brand’s catalogue: the Nova. It was a Dacia-designed hatchback equipped with an engine that had proven its worth on Dacia vehicles for 25 years.

Dacia Nova evolves

The following year, 1996, the Nova 524 corrects the tailgate faults of the first version and gradually replaces it.

1999 Dacia becomes a Renault Group brand

At the end of the 90s, following difficult negotiations, a new agreement is reached between Dacia and Renault. The contract, signed on 2 July 1999, planned for the industrialisation, by 2004, of a vehicle priced at 6,000 dollars (the future Logan), destined for developing countries. Renault Group acquired 51% of Dacia shares for 50 million dollars and committed to investments of 219 million dollars to 2003.

« On two trips to Russia, I visited the dealerships of western brands and a distribution centre that was selling several thousand well-equipped Ladas annually at a price of 6,000 dollars. These models were technically outdated but they were meeting a local demand. It was on my return from these trips that the project for a medium-sized saloon, designed for the family, at a price of 5,000 euros was born »

Louis Schweitzer
CEO Renault Group from 1992 to 2005

Modernisation of the plant

The objective of producing a vehicle for 6,000 dollars (or 5,000 euros after 2002) required comprehensive restructuring of the Pitesti site. Many construction jobs were undertaken simultaneously to modernise the plant, introduce the Renault Production System, train staff, etc.The modernisation of the plant will result in a rapid improvement in production quality.
Modernisation de l'usine

2000 - SupeRNova

October 2000 sees the launch of the Dacia SupeRNova, equipped with a Renault powertrain. It is the first model to be built by Dacia following the acquisition by Renault. SupeRNova soon became a commercial success on the local market. All told, over 60,000 units would be built by 2003.

2002 - Diesel pick-up

At the end of 2002, Dacia’s range of utility vehicles was fitted with the F8Q diesel engine. This development had been long-awaited by Romanians and sales of Dacia utility vehicles were greatly boosted.

2003 - Solenza

The Dacia Solenza was launched in March 2003. Initially, it was fitted with the SupeRNova engine. From September 2003, this model would also be available in a diesel version, with the F8Q engine that was already fitted in the brand’s utility vehicles. The Solenza also inaugurated a new logo. The Solenza was a practice run prior to the following year’s launch of the 5,000-euro vehicle, which was already known by the codename X90.

2004 - Logan runs out a winner!

The model that will relaunch brand Dacia was presented to the international press on 2 June 2004. The first deliveries took place in Romania, from 9 September 2004. Sales targets were exceeded in the very first year, thanks to strong customer demand. Subsequently, Renault will decide to sell the model in western Europe too.

International expansion

In 2005, to support the international rollout of the X90 project (with both the Dacia and Renault badges) in countries like Russia, Colombia and Iran, the CKD export centre, at that time Renault Group’s biggest logistics hub, was inaugurated in Mioveni. At the same time, to meet market demand, the plant’s production capacity was gradually increased, reaching 350,000 units a year by the end of the decade.
Modernisation de l'usine

2006 - Logan MCV

The first adaptation of the Logan range was unveiled in March 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show. Available in two configurations – a 5- and a 7-seater, the Logan MCV took the international press by surprise to become a major seller, especially in western Europe.

2007 - Logan VAN

Having dropped production of its range of utility vehicles based on the R12, Dacia entered the market for UVs once more with a minivan derived from the Logan MCV.

2008 - Logan Pick-Up

To succeed the 1304/1305 range, which had been so successful in Romania, Dacia launched a pick-up developed on the basis of the Logan. The model will later be produced in South Africa, under the Nissan brand.

2008 - Sandero

The Sandero hatchback city car completed the Dacia range in 2008. This model would be greatly appreciated by customers and become number one for private sales in Europe ! At its launch, Dacia inaugurated a new visual identity and a new brand logo.

2009 - Sandero Stepway

At the Barcelona Motor Show in 2009, Dacia unveiled the Stepway, a rugged version of the Sandero. With its unique design and high ground clearance, this version will prove to be a real success on all of the brand’s markets.

2010 - Duster, an off-roader for everyone

With the launch of the Duster, Dacia offered a model that was a perfect response to the new trends in the European market. Success would not be long in coming. The Dacia SUV was the first model from the brand (excluding body variants) to pass the 1-million units mark.

2012-2017: Modern times

2020, A revitalised range

With the new Sandero, Sandero Stepway and Logan, Dacia renewed its offer in the city car and versatile compact segment. Built on the new modular CMF-B platform, they all took a huge step forwards in terms of modernity. This platform is a key component of Dacia’s future, as it will be used in the development of all models to come.
Gamme renouvelée

2021 - Spring, the electric revolution

With the launch of the Spring, Dacia is opening a new chapter in its history as it offers the most affordable all-electric city car on the market. Not only is it Dacia’s first electric city car, it is also its first small city car. The Dacia Spring is designed both for private and fleet customers, especially car-sharing operators.

2021 - Dacia unveils its strategy for the next five years

On the occasion of Renault Group’s presentation of the Renaulution strategic plan, Dacia unveiled its strategy for the next five years. The Dacia Bigster concept car offered a first glimpse of the way forward for the brand, which is proposing to invest in new markets in the future, including segment C.