The concept of image is often associated to luxury companies. Their work is centered in emotions, so they must always be concerned with how people see them and how can they stand out in the market. Every product they create and offer must be carefully designed to follow the brand’s guidelines and send the appropriate message.
Conversely, the concept of image is usually weak in value-oriented companies. Their work is centered in facts, so they must always be concerned with overall costs and how affordable their products will be. Every product they create and offer must be carefully designed to be reliable for several years and deliver the most for what it costs.
While both trains of thought have been strong for a long time, we can already see some signs of change. In short, an appropriate image work can make any product more desirable, so it should be worthy of attention even in the entry-level market segments. This article is going to show you an interesting recent example of these new times.
A bit of history first
Dacia was founded in 1966 assembling entry-level Renault cars under license: the first selected ones were the 8 sedan, renamed 1100, and the Estafette van in the CKD strategy. Other models were brought over the years, such as the 20 hatchback, but the one that really prospered was the 12 sedan, which arrived as the Dacia 1300 in 1969.
Initially praised for its modernity and reliability, the model quickly became a market success and encouraged Dacia to expand its offering: more trim levels were created at first, then more body styles. However, the company’s low-cost character limited its potential: it never created more prestigious cars because people would never buy them.
Unfortunately, that vicious circle prevented Dacia from improving its models: while it designed prototypes of new models every now and then, it could only actually invest in low-cost updates for the Dacia 1300 which got less desirable by the year. Things would take a complete change after the Renault takeover, but not as quickly as one would think.
Better but still not good
We all know what happened in the 2000s: after a weak transition made with the Nova and Solenza sedans, the first Dacia Logan formed a whole new line of entry-level cars which managed to remain successful over the years because Renault’s support enabled the company to regularly update them — the Duster car is a notable example of that.
Even though Dacia has reached quite a solid market performance, being only a regular low-cost company was not enough to compete in the market because any other could create similar cars and snatch its buyers; there was no reason to prefer Dacia’s cars over any others. That fact helps explain why it absolutely had to rethink its image.
Released early this year, the Bigster concept which illustrates this article is the first concrete example of the new plan Dacia has been drawing. More than yet another SUV, it anticipates several visual elements that build the image future models are going to embody to make the company become a desirable version of what it has always been.
What can we expect now?
Dacia will focus on what it considers “essential”. It will give a sense of stability and strength to make people feel comfortable and safe; the intention is to help them escape from modern-day excesses and enjoy life by going back to basics such as family and nature. Of course, there will be many concrete elements to send this message on the car.
Graphic design will use earthy colors and a minimalist, geometric font to give that sense of stability. The use of oversized body elements with blocky shapes and plastic trim helps convey strength and robustness. Finally, a light off-road flair motivated by the Dacia Duster’s success creates connection with nature and spending time with loved ones.
The Bigster concept shows that Dacia founded, indeed, an identity of its own. Upcoming models are expected to remain objective and affordable, but with a strong character for the first time rather than the generic low-cost appearance they have had so far. That change will be crucial to compete with Citroën, Fiat and, especially, Škoda cars.
Dacia’s brand new visual identity is expected to make it reach its highest point since the 1960s without leaving behind the values that established the image it has built. Do you think the Romanian company can make a difference in the generalist market or does it take more than that? Share your thoughts using the comment button below!