Autoline on Autoblog with John McElroy

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John McElroy is host of the TV program “Autoline Detroit“. Every week he’ll bring his unique insights as an auto industry insider to Autoblog readers.

CHEAP CARS COULD BE BIG BONANZA
By John McElroy

At the Frankfurt Auto Show last week, I found myself going through the Dacia Logan with a fine-tooth comb. I slammed the doors, sat in the seats, ran my hand over the fabrics, checked the fit and finish, and lay on my back peering under the car. Then I stood back and looked at it from a variety of angles. I just had to find out for myself if this cheap car truly represents the next Big Thing in the automotive market.

In case you haven’t heard of it before, here’s the quick low-down on the Logan. Dacia is a Romanian automaker now owned by Renault. Together they came out with the Logan to provide a low-cost, yet modern automobile for the masses. Today, the Logan is about the cheapest car you can buy in Europe. There’s a van version that starts at 5,600 euros ($7,800) and a sedan that starts at 6,400 euros ($8,900).

At first, most other automakers sort of scoffed at the effort. But then sales of the Logan took off. Right now they’re running at about 200,000 units a year and it’s exported to 50 countries. That made everyone in the industry sit up and take notice.

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