12 August 2016
Brand Series - Low Cost
Many cars in the world are bought in affluent lands. The buyers can afford the purchase price and the costly depreciation that follows. However, in many poorer nations a new car isn't even a dream. So car manufacturers have turned to building cars at a budget price. That is enough to get some into a new car. I will look at brands and regions, then rate them. The rating is a mix of things, so not just how good the car is.
Dacia: In Europe, Dacia works surprisingly well for owner Renault and it is profitable. I don't know why Renault isn't taking Dacia to countries like Australia and NZ. Chinese brands haven't worked here but Dacia is a well made car. Sold in Latin America too, with success. Rating 8/10.
Lada: It is popular in the east of Europe but not elsewhere. Quality and styling is improving and this budget brand has potential, but I wonder if there is a plan to expand its reach. Rating 4/10.
Datsun: A resurrected brand name for low cost cars. Still new and not that widely available. A work in progress and not suited to mature markets. Rating 3/10.
Made in Brazil and India: Some of them are sold in the West but others cannot due to safety issues. Because of the variance, I cannot give a rating. If you see a cheap car, made by a reputable brand, selling at a very low price in a far away country, something had to be sacrificed for that to happen.
Chinese: Generally efforts to seduce Western buyers have flopped. Poorer nations have been receptive, because of the low prices. I thought Chinese brands would have progressed further but haste, too many brands and a 'low quality' reputation hampers efforts. There is no longer any need to protect local car production and this restriction is counter productive. Rating 3/10.
Summary: I would consider a well made, budget brand. I don't care if some of the plastics are not soft touch as I have better things to concern myself with. I don't want loads of technology as this reduces reliability and durability. I refuse to wear the initial outlay and strong depreciation of overpriced cars, full of things I don't want or need. Safe, simple, reliable transport sits well with me. The low cost car has a place everywhere, if it is done properly.