Dacia Logan 1-4 MPI

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Description: The Logan is a low-cost subcompact car/supermini produced jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its affiliate Dacia of Romania. It is manufactured...

The Logan is a low-cost subcompact car/supermini produced jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its affiliate Dacia of Romania. It is manufactured at Dacia's automobile plant in Mioveni, Romania. Whether the car is badged Dacia or Renault in a country depends on the existing presence of the Renault marque in it.

The Logan was the end result of Project X90, announced by Renault in 1999 after the buyout of Dacia in 1998. During a visit to Russia by French President Jacques Chirac, Louis Schweitzer noted that at Lada and Renault dealerships the 6000€ Ladas were selling very well, while the 12,000€ Renaults stayed in the showroom. "Seeing those antiquated cars, I found it unacceptable that technical progress should stop you making a good car for 6,000€". (He later revised this target to 5,000€.) "I also drew up a list of specifications in three words – modern, reliable and affordable – and added that everything else was negotiable.". However, the cheapest version of the car is priced at almost 6,000€, and can reach 8,500€, depending on equipment and customs duty (the base model for Western Europe, where it is badged as a Dacia but generally sold in Renault dealerships, is somewhat more expensive). As it was designed from the outset as an affordable car, the Logan has many simplified features to keep costs low.

The car replaces many older cars in production, including the Romanian Dacia 1300 series of Renault 12-based cars and Iran's Hillman Hunter-based Paykan.

It was oficially launched in 2004. Renault originally had no plans to sell Logan in Western Europe, but began importing a more expensive version of the car in June 2005, starting at around €7000.

The Logan is based on the B platform that is used by the third generation Renault Clio, Renault Modus and the latest version of the Nissan Micra. It has 50% fewer parts than a high-end Renault vehicle and has a limited number of electronic devices. In addition to making the car less costly to produce, this also makes it easier and cheaper to repair. As with many low-cost vehicles, a large amount of soundproofing was omitted, meaning that road vibrations, engine sound and wind noise are noticeable for the passengers.

Some parts are also much simpler than those of its competitors. For example, rear-view mirrors are symmetrical and can be used on either sides of the car, the windshield is flatter than usual, and the dashboard is a single injection-molded piece.

The developers have taken into account several differences between road and climate conditions in developed and developing countries. The Logan suspension is soft and strong, and the chassis sits visibly higher than most other superminis to help it negotiate dirt roads and potholes on ill-maintaned asphalt roads. The engine is specially prepared to handle lower quality fuel, whereas the air conditioning is powerful enough to lower temperature several degrees (above 40ºC are common in the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea).

In markets where Renault has already a presence, like in European and African countries such as Romania, Ukraine and Morocco it is sold as the Dacia Logan. In other markets, like Russia, Iran, China and Africa, it is marketed as the Renault Logan. The Logan is vital to increasing sales of the Renault group to the 4 million mark by 2010. In India, the car's first right hand drive market, the Logan will be marketed under the "Mahindra" brand name; Renault will partner with Indian utility and commercial vehicles manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra.

The car is for sale in developing countries where the population has a lower purchasing power than in developed countries.

In June 2005 the car achieved a 3 star rating at the EuroNCAP crash tests. This result confirms initial expectations stated earlier by Renault.

In July 2005, an 'elk-test' driving maneuver conducted by the German ADAC claimed that the lack of an Electronic Stability Program by Dacia Logan makes it roll over when braking in turns while at 65 km/h. More pictures here. However, later that month, the Romanian version of Top Gear repeated the elk-test and, according to the results published on their website, the Logan passed the test at speeds of 72 km/h, 84 km/h and 87 km/h. Later, on September 9, ADAC published the results of further incident investigation, showing that the rollover was actually caused by faulty tires and not by improper car design. It was later admitted by the German testers that the car failed after an unusual number of elk tests that had worn down the tires of the test car.

Since the beginning of production in 2004 and until mid 2006 a total of 254,757 Dacia Logans were sold.

Dacia estimates for 2006 are over €1.5 billion, 33% up in comparison with 2005. Annual production will reach 200,000 cars, half for exports.

Production is initially of a 4-door sedan, although hatchback, wagon and pickup truck versions are due to follow.

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