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Pickup lines: “it’s also for pleasure” September 11, 2007

Posted by danielogan in In the news, Uncategorized.
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Dacia has to wait a while before it can put its badge on the new Sandero, but it wil be the first to market the new Logan Pickup, the fourth model in its lineup, after Logan, Logan MCV and Logan Van.

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There are not too many details about the new Logan Pickup. We know that it will be sold in 2008, at first only in Romania, and that it has a payload of 800 kg, a load length of 1.80 meters and a stowage space of 300 liters behind the seats.

The interesting part, for me at least, is that Dacia/Renault wants to market this vehicle not only as a light comercial vehicle, but also as a car for recreational activities, taking advantage of its load space to pick up a quad, a surf board or any other “tool” for a cool weekend outside the city. In fact, the press release for the new Dacia Logan Pickup states that this is a “practical, robust vehicle for business and pleasure”.

Now, I don’t know if potential clients will buy this line, but it is interesting to imagine how this Pickup would look with a stylish bullbar, sidebars and chunkier tyres. It would be the closest thing to an American pickup truck on this side of the Atlantic.

Dacia needed this Pickup in its offer, after shutting down the production of the old Pickup, based on the Renault 12 platform, at the end of 2005.  

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The advantage of the old model was that it had several versions: Dropside, Double Cabin, and also FWD versions. So far, there is no official intention to develop any of these versions for the new Pickup.

(The source for all photos is Renault/Dacia)

Here it is: Renault Sandero. Dacia has to wait for 2008 September 10, 2007

Posted by danielogan in In the news, Uncategorized.
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renaultsandero1.jpg 

 As expected, Renault officialy presented today the second model of its low-cost offensive: Renault Sandero. The MC for this event was “El Lider Maximo”, Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Renault, speaking in front of an audience of 450 people. Ten new cars were presented on this occasion, among wich the new Logan Pick-up!

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Sandero will be sold in Brazil and Argentina starting from December, and it will arrive in Europe under the Dacia brand in 2008.

Pack your bags for Rio! Or is it Frankfurt??? September 9, 2007

Posted by danielogan in In the news, Uncategorized.
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In a few hours the Frankfurt Motor Show will open its doors for the press and all the secrets will be unveiled. Among them, a very big, big surprise!

Rumors (in portuguese) say that the new Logan hatchback version will make its world debut in Germany, although initial plans indicated a launch in Brazil, where the car will be produced at first. 

The really big news is that the style of the new model is not based on the box-shaped  Logan: the line will resemble Renault Clio III and most probably there will be a new name for it, because of that.

Now, the really, really big news is that I have spotted this new name (or at least I hope I did): SANDERO! Yes, among all the names secured by Renault recently this is the one that makes sense. Renault Sandero / Dacia Sandero. I had to choose between Sandero, Tangara and Taranis, but I believe that the first one is more appropriate for a car “born” in South America.

So, keep your eyes on Hall 3.1 (sector A02) at the IAA in Frankfurt! There will be a new twist in the Logan saga!

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).

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.
logan

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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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.

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– 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.

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?

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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