Images released of Dacia's SUV concept vehicle suggest a rather dramatic departure but it will remain true to the company's "no frills" ethos.
If a no frills policy works for Ryanair, there's no reason why a car company can't adopt the business model just as successfully, as long as the price is right. Hence the jokey ads for Dacia and its constant references to basic offerings at basic prices. Even in the case of the new "Bigster" concept - an SUV intended to compete with the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq and the Volkswagen Tiguan - Dacia says it's intended to offer "no more, or no less, than the essential".
Of course, the owners of the Kodiaq and the Tiguan will look down at cars like the Bigster but they will have paid a great deal more for their options than the likely flock of conquest buyers the Dacia may attract. On that note, it's also worth remembering that cars lose about 50 per cent of their value in the first three years on the road.
Studio images can be deceptive but if the Bigster has the road presence the photos suggest then it may well be a more attractive proposition than we might have expected. It has shades of the Toyota Land Cruiser and a bit of the Land Rover's new Defender about it. It's likely to have conventional engines to start, drawn from the Renault Group offerings, and then move towards hybrid or LPG power as it gains some traction in the market.
There won't be any "chrome trim or imitation aluminium", says Dacia, which says all the exterior plastic panels (like the wheel arch coverings in the image above) come from raw recycled plastic. The car itself will be based on the same platform as the Renault Clio and Captur.
As it's still on the drawing board, there are few details available about the car but it will have bigger LED versions of Dacia's Y shaped lights front and rear. You can, however, expect a fairly basic interior with few of the cosmetic touches with which other car companies attempt to seduce us. It's how the plastic is presented that matters because most cars have lots and lots of it - some of it just looks less like plastic in some more expensive cars. The Bigster is scheduled to go on sale within the next four years and Dacia will be introducing
Disappointingly, Dacia's cheapest electric car - the Spring - won't be coming here, presumably as it won't sit well with offerings from Renault fighting for the same end of the market.
Finally, if you are minded to dismiss Dacia's as bottom of the pile offerings, it's worth remembering the Sandero and Duster models are among the most consistently popular cars across Europe, based on sales. And, back in the day, Roman legions found the ancient Dacians a far more formidable force of resistance than they expected.