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In Brazil, Logan talks the talk and walks on ethanol April 24, 2007

Posted by danielogan in Factories, In the news, Markets, Uncategorized.
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Starting from May, Logan will become available under the Renault brand in Argentina, and then, from July, in Brazil.

This comes after Logan’s launch in Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, in September 2005. Until now, Logan has been assembled in South America in the Colombian plant of Sofasa, located in Envigado, but the start of the production in Brazil will bring several twists in the development of the X90 project:

1. “Talks the talk”: since Logan has in Brazil a high degree of local content, 80% of parts being produced locally (higher degree than in Romania, as far as I know), the cars produced here adopt a new interior design! The changes are discreet – explaining why most people don’t notice anything out of the ordinary when looking at the official pictures – but the differences are there: the central console is more refined, with knobs and switches better located, in a higher and more accessible configuration. Also, the door panels have a new design. See for yourself!

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For comparison I attach a photo of my central console with its “accessible-find-me-if-you-can” dials and switches:

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Compared to Dacia Logan, the seats of its Renault sibling have a better upholstery as well.

The (potential) good news is that this new design of the dashboard is most likely to be adopted in the face-lift versions of Logan scheduled in Europe for next year.

2. “Walks on ethanol”: you’re right, Logans don’t “walk”, but in Brazil they run on bioethanol, a premiere for the Logan range. This fuel is widely used in Brazil, and Renault was wise enough to take it into account. As a side-notice, in Romania, Dacia will launch in May the first official Logan version able to run on LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas). “Official” because taxi drivers and some private owners have been using this alternative fuel for quite some time, although the producer advised against it.

3. Produced in the Ayrton Senna Complex in Curitiba (Parana State), the “Brazilian” Logan will have an annual production capacity of 110,000 units, according to Renault. This is more than half of the entire production capacity (200,000 units) of the passenger car factory, although Logan is the sixth model manufactured there. The Logan production is aimed not only for the Brazilian market, but also for export, mainly Argentina and Mexico. The interesting part is that Renault announced that a model derived from Logan will be
marketed in Mexico under the Nissan brand, but no further details were offered.

The decision to put a Nissan badge on a Renault model is not new. The four-door version of Renault Clio, known as Symbol or Thalia, is sold in Mexico (and other Latin American markets as well) as Nissan Platina.

It is worth mentioning at this point that Brazil is also the country that will see the international launch of the future hatchback version of Logan, announced for this fall by Luc-Alexandre Menard, president of Dacia, at this year’s Geneva motor show (according to Reuters).

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The results are in! April 24, 2007

Posted by danielogan in MyLogan, Uncategorized.
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Time to put some figures on the table!

Lack of spare time means less traveling. Still, two weeks ago, on Easter, we all went to the mountains. We went to Cheia, a small resort some 130 km away from Bucharest. The car behaved nicely, the baby didn’t. Ok, you cannot ask too much from a 6-month old baby, but trust me on this: to drive 130 km in four and a half hours doesn’t come easy to anyone! Thank God that we got there at all!

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Ooops! I promised figures… Here they are:

Total trip Bucharest – Cheia – Bucharest: 265 km

Fuel economy: 4,1 litres/100 km

Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider this a very good result for a diesel engine (70 HP) in its infancy. I didn’t speed (max. 100 km/h; 60 mph), and I kept the engine under 2,500 rpm. I did it because these are the dealer’s advices, but also because I consider that any car should be treated with more care in its first trips. Engines are usually tested on a “dry bench”, they do not run under normal conditions until you take hold of the key. Try to imagine the fuel costs for a manufacturer to make every car run around the factory for a lap, for example, in order to “round up” the engine. So, I believe that it is better to first use your car wisely, calmly, to take as many long trips as you can, to let the car get accustomed with you. I did it with my first new car and it worked: now it has 150,000 km and the engine still runs like new.

Normally all engines tend to have a bigger consumption rate in the early days of their lifes than later on, but I don’t believe that what I got now will improve dramatically: yes, the engine will drink less in time, but my right foot will get heavier as well. If I get the same mileage while driving at 120 – 130 km/h, then I’ll be happy!

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The good part about this kind of mileage is that once arrived at your destination, you can relax and admire the flowers, without having to worry about looking for a gas station on your way back.

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Playing Sherlock Holmes April 4, 2007

Posted by danielogan in Markets, Uncategorized.
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As I mentioned in my previous post, the Logan in India is a little bit different compared to the “European” one that has a Dacia badge glued to it.

The obvious distinct feature is the front grill, the one used by Logan in Russia, where it is sold as a Renault model, but the front spoiler is “unusual”: Logan is launched in India at this moment only as a sedan version, but its front spoiler belongs in fact to the estate version, the MCV. This choice might have something to do with the fact that the engine needs a wider air intake for cooling, but it might be just as well a purely “stylish” decision, since the MCV front spoiler is better looking and somewhat more aggressive than the “classical” one.

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Although not very visible from this angle, you can nevertheless see something black rising at the lower end of the windshield. Instead of adopting a new configuration for the wipers, Renault chose a mechanical system fitted on the existing outlets: the wiper in front of the driver thus makes a wider movement, clearing also the upper corner of the windshield.

Moving to the back side of the car, if the European versions have the Logan badge completed with “by Renault”, the Indian models are in fact Logan “by Mahindra”, which is a nice local touch. My Logan, obviously, is “by Renault”.

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Still on the outside, it seems that all Logan versions will be offered in India with front and rear spoilers fully painted, this option being reserved in Europe only for the high-end version Prestige 1.6 16V. The side ornaments and door handles are painted as well. The interesting part is that, although the “Indian” Logan has all the new features introduced in Europe last year with the “New Collection” phase (the boot lid with an improved design, new gearshift knob, etc), the lock for the luggage compartment is the “old” one, that uses only the key, without the new thumb-push release button.

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The alloy wheels presented in the official photos are completely different from the options available on the European market.

The interior is specific to the Indian market, too. The colour used is beige, a brighter shade than the interiors of the European versions. The video included at the end of this post (source: Renault, via thenewsmarket.com) reveals that this lighter colour helps create a “friendlier” environment.

The engine line-up is special for the Indian market: two petrol engines (1.4 and 1.6 liters) and one diesel, 1.5 dCI. Since the official site does not mention anything about compliance to emission norms, I guess all engines are Euro 3, and I build this judgement based on the fact that the “Indian” diesel engine has only 65 HP. On the European market, Logan is Euro 4 compliant, and this means that the diesel versions have another engine, that developes 70 HP. The 1.6 16V engine is not available on the Indian market.

Now, take a ride with Logan in India!

Logan drivers take the right seat. In India April 3, 2007

Posted by danielogan in Factories, In the news, Markets, Uncategorized.
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Renault announced today the launch of its Logan model on the Indian market, available in the first phase in 10 cities (booking starts on April 14), followed in a second phase by 15 other cities (booking scheduled to start in May).

First deliveries are expected 4 weeks after booking.

The “Indian” Logan is the first right hand drive version of this model. It was first spotted last year, during a test session, stripped of any badges.
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In India, the price for petrol engine versions starts at Rs. 4.28 lakhs (little over 7,400 Euro / 9,900 USD), and for the common rail diesel version the starting price is Rs. 5.47 lakhs (9,500 Euro / 12,650 USD).

The announcement was in fact attributed to Mahindra Renault, the joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra and Renault, controlled with 51% of shares by the Indian partner.

Logans sold in India will be assembled in Mahindra’s plant at Nashik, with an estimated annual production capacity of 50,000 units, comprising a stamping shop, a paint shop with a top quality pre-treatment and an assembly line specific for the Logan.

According to the official press release, the air-conditioning and heating system of the car has been adapted to suit the Indian driving conditions, since it has to suit extreme climatic conditions that prevail in the sub-continent. Compared to the European models, Logans offered on the Indian market have other distinct features as well.

Previous reports stated that the Mahindra Renault Logan project starts with a rate of localisation of 50%.

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