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A better look March 25, 2007

Posted by danielogan in MyLogan, Uncategorized.
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First of all I have to say that I am happy with the new Logan. It runs just as I expected and it does look good in that bright blue colour.

On the other hand, what I didn’t discover when I took the car from the dealer became obvious the second day, under the “cruel” light of the sun. It’s not big things, just small details, but they do contribute to the way one perceives a car: – The car was not washed prior to the delivery. As far as I know, washing the car is the second item on the “to do” list sent by the manufacturer to all dealers. I guess this dealer thought that Friday’s rain would do the job, but it didn’t. There was some mud visible behind the wheels, because the delivery parking is located in an area that it is not paved yet (at least that’s what I’ve been told), and the grease used in the factory for the door hinges was not washed away from under the door.

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– When removing the plastic covers from the seats, nobody bothered to check if bits of plastic remained tangled on the sides. I did check, and guess what… I did the dealer’s job.

plasticfantastic1.JPG plasticfantastic2.JPG
– Due to the mud in the delivery parking, someone didn’t pay too much attention when installing the front panel of the audio unit: seems that wiping is a hard job these days.

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– Once again, the things mentioned above are small details, but the part that really annoys me is the tyre pressure. According to the book, it should be 2.0 bar on the front, and 2.2 on the back axle. It was over 2.5 bar. I measured it twice with two different pressure gauges, and the result was the same: 2.5 to 2.8 bar, depending on the wheel. When driving back home from the dealer I felt that something was a little bit odd compared to the Logans I drove until now. This was it: the tires were too rigid and “jumpy” over cobblestones. It is a pity that such small things, easy to “repair”, affect the perception of an otherwise good car. Once again, bringing all tyres to the same pressure is one of the tasks in charge of the dealer, as stated in procedures for preparing a car for delivery.

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Moving on, next post will start the crash-course in how to build a low-cost car: Lesson 1 – Design to cost.

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Rainy day, sunny moment March 23, 2007

Posted by danielogan in MyLogan, Uncategorized.
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Now, guess which one is ours?logandealer.JPG

Does this help?

theone.JPG

On a very rainy and gloomy Friday, our blue Logan made its entrance into our life. It wasn’t the best of days to take delivery of a car, with the rain and a sleeping baby by our side. Still, I signed all the papers needed and in an hour or so we left the dealer, driving straight to the petrol station: “Usually these cars come with only two liters in the tank, so you’d better go and fill it up”, said the guy who was supposed to make an introductory lesson about how this car works. First stop: the pump!

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I can’t tell you more about it right now, because I didn’t really have the time to look at it closely. I drove back home with wife&baby on the back seat, and then I returned to all the unfinished business awaiting me.

So, tomorrow, Saturday, will be in fact the day I take a closer look at things. Let’s hope that the sunny feelings of today will remain just as bright tomorrow.

Delayed March 22, 2007

Posted by danielogan in MyLogan, Uncategorized.
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It won’t happen today. Tomorrow.

I’ve got a phone call today at noon from the sales counselor (“in training” – as it is stated on his business card): the car is at the dealer, and it has to go through a preparation procedure prior to the delivery. Problem is that there are other cars in waiting for the same procedure, and I’ll get my Logan tomorrow. He’ll call me again at 9.30 – 10.00 a.m.

If I were him, I wouldn’t have put it like this: as client, I don’t want to know that there are others in front of me. Please tell me instead that I am on top of your list of priorities, and that in order to make sure that everything will be spot on from the very first moment, my car will need more time, care, attention, something…

Am I too demanding?

The parking space remains empty for today. Maybe tomorrow… loganparking.jpg

Choices March 20, 2007

Posted by danielogan in MyLogan, Uncategorized.
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I am awaiting the arrival of our new Logan. It should be fresh, shiny and ready to roll on Thursday, March 22nd.

Today I went to the bank to make the final arrangements and, yes, I had second thoughts. There is no wonder why all instruction manuals start with a standard congratulation on your wise, exquisite choice. But right now I don’t have anything like this to comfort my ego, so I have to remember why I made this choice.

1. Price. The tag price for a Logan 1.5 dCi Laureate is 9,400 euro in Romania. It is not cheap, but it is not very expensive either. This version is the third in the line-up, after Ambiance (the base version) and Preference, and it brings me, among other things, a trip computer, air conditioning, electrical rear-view mirrors, and a better seat for My Heiness. The top version is Ambition, with ABS, CD-player and alloy wheels. Logan is not the only option I have on the market for 9-10,000 euro: Fiat Panda, Citroen C3, Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Accent are just a few other examples, but…

2. Space. Yes, space, the final frontier… Measurements aside, the feeling you get when you enter a Logan is that you are in a bigger car than it seems on the outside. Legroom, roof height, elbow width, they are all generous and almost over-sized. Why do I need so much space? Well, you’ll see why a little bit further down.

3. Engine. In terms of size and boot/trunk volume, Fiat Albea is a direct competitor for Logan, but it does not have a diesel engine on offer – such an option is available on the Turkish market, for example, but Albea comes in Romania only with a 1.4 liter petrol engine. Logan, on the other hand, has a diesel engine and it is a good one: low consumption, not very noisy, Euro IV compliant. Other competitors have very good diesel engines as well (Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent, both with the same glorious engine:1.5 CRDi, 110 HP), but the price is significantly higher.

4. Service network. Can anyone beat a national brand in terms of presence throughout the country? Dacia-Renault people brag that there is a Dacia dealership-mechanical shop in a radius of no more than 50 kilometres from where one may live in Romania. I didn’t check this, but it is sure good to know that I can find a Dacia representative anywhere, in case I need it. Plus, let’s not overlook the availability of spare parts: I don’t want a car that has to wait two weeks for a fender to be shipped from Hamburg or Rotterdam.

5. Warranty. It’s on offer and I’ve got it: 3-year warranty. Usually, Logan comes with a 18-month warranty, and if you want this period to be extended to three years, you have to pay (265 euro for my version). In Switzerland I saw a special offer for Logan with a 5-year warranty.

6. Baby. It’s “his” car after all. I drive a 10-year old Daewoo Tico. It’s small, practical, reliable and economical. It’s not big and it’s not safe. You see my problem? If it weren’t for the diapers, the safety seat, the clothes for this and that and the other one, I would have stayed glued to my Tico for another couple of years. Instead, I have to take the new member of our family into consideration and give him what he deserves: space, safety and diapers (they cost a lot, you know… see reason number 1). Who can say “No” to him? Look at those eyes! He’s already crushing hearts!

Baby

Before I log(an) out, thank you Oana for the tap on the shoulder! I guess I deserved it. Publish or perish, right?!

On the road March 18, 2007

Posted by danielogan in Uncategorized.
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This is my first post, my first blog, and all I start with is an idea: I want to share with those who are interested my thoughts and experiences about a car. No, I am not a petrolhead and speed at all costs is not my thing. The car that I want to write about is the more or less famous Logan, the low-cost car developed by Renault and sold at this very moment in 51 countries with a Dacia badge (49 countries) or a Renault one.

Dacia Logan

Dacia, for those who don’t know it, is a Romanian brand and Romania is where the “Logan Story” began. I am not going to document here the history of Dacia or to explain where Romania is on the map, but I guess that it is clear by now that I am a Romanian, I live and work in Romania. However, my intention is to focus on topics about Logan that may interest a wider audience than the Romanian one… hence my writing in English.

Why “Logan” and why “101”? Logan is widely known as the “low-cost car” and embodies an new path in the automotive industry: building a simple yet reliable car that provides transportation from point A to point B. No expensive electronics, no gimmicks, just “low-cost, no-frills”, the principle introduced in the US airline industry by Southwest Airlines, and then copied in Europe by other companies such as Ryanair or easyJet. The “low-cost phenomena” is a well documented story in the case of airline companies, but the low-cost car is still a fresh issue. The “101” part is simple. I am “101” (a beginner that is) in blogging, just as the Logan is a “freshman” in low-cost. Hopefully we will both “graduate” at one moment. You’ll be the judge of that as we go along.