Mover over Duster! Dacia and Lada join forces to create the Bigster SUV
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With its emphasis on no-frills, tough and inexpensive SUVs, Romanian brand Dacia (sold as "Renault" in New Zealand with the Duster) is pretty much the modern equivalent of Lada. Anybody remember those iconic "Nothing but car!" ads shown in New Zealand in the 1980s?
Anyway, Dacia is actually about to become the new Lada with a new alliance between the brands starting this year. A Dacia-Lada business unit has been set up by Renault (which owns both brands) as part of its new and catchily named "Renaulution" strategy for the next five years.
While Dacia and Lada will remain separate, shared platforms and technology will help each expand into new areas.
The brand-new, flexible CMF-B platform will enable Dacia and Lada to move from four platforms to one and from 18 body types to 11.
Vehicles based on this platform could be available with both alternative-energy and hybrid engines - a major change for Dacia, which has thus far relied on established technology to keep costs down.
The Dacia Bigster SUV concept (larger than the Duster) is the first tangible evidence of this new approach. There's also a new Lada SUV mooted, likely based on the 4x4 Vision concept first seen back in 2018.
Dacia has been doing simple and inexpensive vehicles for 15 years under Renault, becoming something of a cult brand in the process. It's distributed in 44 countries, with seven million sold so far. The Sandero and Duster remain the number one car and number one SUV sold to private customers in Europe.
The Bigster concept is "roomy, robust, and meant for open air and dusty roads while exploring new horizons".
It's 4.6 metre long and has "no more or no less than the essential," says Dacia.
"The Bigster is the Dacia way of making the C-segment accessible, delivering a larger, more capable vehicle at the cost buyers would expect from the segment below."
Lada's 4x4 Vision concept was its first new SUV since the Niva of 1976. It was unveiled just one year after Renault acquired the company in 2017.