So then, taking all that into account, I've emptied my swimming pool of existing phlegm in anticipation of what's to come!
Looking at how the affordable sedan market is shaping up right now, I believe Dacia could have offered a slightly bigger sedan than the Logan. Brand perception has changed slightly to the point where you can almost hold the laughter in while saying "Dacia flagship model". In addition, there could be a very real market need for a longer wheelbase Logan.
No, please put down the pitchforks and let me explain. The Logan is used as a taxi car, especially in Romania where it's built, but also in Tunisia, Russia and on a smaller scale in other Easter European countries. The Romanian factory actually makes a yellow car specifically for taxi firms. A longer wheelbase model would have more room in the back and would thus offer more comfort for customers. The ride could be improved as well.
I don't know if a bespoke model or a long wheelbase is needed, and it's honestly up to Renault to figure that out. What I do know for certain is that people buy the Logan over the Sandero because it has more space in the trunk. "More" is the affordable car way.
Getting back to the badge discussion and the outrage I've probably created by suggesting Dacia could offer something more upmarket. Think of things from another angle: the Logan is brand new, the Dacia badge is also new, as is their design language, most of the other cars they sell, all of the dealers scattered across Europe, that 0.9-liter turbo engine, the navigation/infotainment system and the parking sensors. About the only thing that's old here is the company name. So then, where's the sacrilege in giving the sedan 5% more premiumness, style and build quality. "More" is definitely better when it comes to cars, especially when you mix it with "less" in the same sentence to get "more for less".
In a world where people gladly pay €70,000 for a "People's Car", would a €15,000 Dacia really be that bad?
Right, it's time to put my mad scientist hat on and figure out what this car could be like and what it might cost.
In Germany, for instance, the Logan Laureate dCi 90, basically the most expensive model, is €12,500. Adding a longer wheelbase, better interior trim and so on would add another €1,000 or so to that sticker. The jump from the 90 hp 1.5-liter diesel to the more powerful 110 hp version would be another €1,600, based on the Megane model range. This brings the total to €15,100.
From sales of the Peugeot 301, a potential rival, I'd say people wouldn't want an automatic gearbox with the super-Logan and that cheaper to buy petrol engines are also preferable. Renault could use the TCe 115 or TCe 130, 1.2- and 1.4-liter turbo engines that it's never offered to its "less fortunate" customers who buy Dacias.
If Renault doesn't make a car like this, it's because they're too afraid it will overshadow their Fluence. So what do you say Renault, are you chicken?