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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Dacia has taken quite a different approach in revealing its latest minivan, Lodgy. Rather than traveling the usual auto show circuit and looking pretty on rotating pedestals, a unique, race-prepped Dacia Lodgy has been made to compete in France’s ice rally series, the Trophée Andros, months before any information on the production model is available.
While the race-prepped Dacia Lodgy’s general proportions are likely very similar to the production version, the rally car is built upon a tubular chassis with a profile that sits lower and wider than its production variant. Power comes through a mid-mounted V6 engine good for 355-hp to all four wheels.
Expect the production Dacia Lodgy to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. No technical information yet, but a selection of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will be offered, including the 1.5 dCi. Sources have also claimed that the people mover will offer both five passenger and seven passenger trims.
GALLERY: Dacia Lodgy
[Source: Left Lane News]
Renault is in development of an ultra low-cost vehicle, along the lines of the Tata Nano. While the Nano is currently suffering from some awful sales numbers (initial projection of 20,000 a month but only saw 1,200 units sold in September), CEO of Renault/Nissan Carlos Ghosn is convinced that an extremely affordable vehicle would be a good segment for Renault to venture into when approaching emerging markets.
According to reports from La Tribune, Gérard Detourbet, the head of Renault’s low-cost division, will be responsible in developing an engine and platform for a vehicle next year that will have a starting price of 2,500€ ($3,300). While Renault is already offering multiple low-cost vehicles in Brazil, it is possible that the new car will not wear a Renault badge, but the badge of sub-brand Dacia (seen above) instead.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Three time French ice racing champ Jean-Philippe Dayraut has accomplished a lot in his career, but he’s always wanted to race, and win, at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He accomplished one of the two last week, and despite plenty of enthusiasm, finished just third in on what is recognized as the most challenging event of its kind.
With a time of 10 minutes and 17 seconds, Dayraut was 26 seconds off of Monster Tajima’s record-setting sub-10 minute run and 8 seconds behind Rhys Millen. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, with Tajima a veteran of the mountain and Millen having competed there many times before. Dayraut, however, had just three days to prepare and his purpose-built Nissan GT-R powered mid-engine Dacia Duster race car was built in just three months.
“It’s got to be the most incredible and craziest event I have ever done,” he said after reaching the peak. “The mix of asphalt and gravel calls for special driving skills and I am thrilled to have finished on the podium and competed up there with best.”
But Dayraut’s story doesn’t end there. In a release issues by Dacia parent company Renault, there’s a big hint that the team will be back to contest for the win next year.
GALLERY: Dacia Duster Pikes Peak No Limit
While little known on our shores, the Dacia Duster is a popular crossover in Eastern Europe. In two weeks time, however, it will get plenty of attention here, as it races to the clouds in the annual Pikes Peak hill climb.
The rally car race version of the Duster couldn’t be further from the production model, however, with typically small Euro-spec engine being replaced by a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 out of the Nissan GT-R. Making 850-hp the motor now also sits behind the driver in a mid-engine configuration.
Set to be piloted by Jean-Phillipe Dayraut, the Dacia Duster “No Limit” race car recently underwent testing and the team has some wild video to show of just how powerful this machine is.
Watch the video after the jump:
The Romanian racing company Dacia famous for winter racing has joined Renaultsport, and a number of independent firms to build the Dacia Duster. The “No Limit” race car driven by Jean-Phillipe Dayraut was built for the Unlimited class at Pikes Peak.
In this class, there are essentially no restrictions placed on a car’s specifications. In this case, the Dacia Duster features a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V6 from a Nissan GT-R. The engine is tuned to 850-hp, and is mounted behind the cabin, connected to a 6-speed sequential gearbox.
The car will be raced at Pikes Peak on June 26,2011.
If you’ve never witnessed the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb, you’re truly missing out in an unbelievable experience. The locale itself is a sight to behold and watching high-horsepower machines blast their way up the mountainside is just icing on the cake.
That being said, it’s easy to understand why any automaker would want to compete here. But Renault? And a Dacia Duster – an SUV from the French automaker’s Romanian division?
Rumor has it that this Dacia Duster will differ rather significantly from the street vehicle, packing 850-hp in a body that weighs less than 2,000-lbs. Oh, and it will be mid-engine vehicle too. Some reports indicate it’ll be powered by a Nissan GT-R engine variant, though other rumors are stating it’s a V8 and the GT-R is obviously a six. So we’ll be keeping our eyes out on July 26th when Jean-Philippe Dayraut gets behind the wheel to prove all the skeptics wrong. And if not, at least he got to experience the sights and sounds of Colorado!
GALLERY: Pikes Peak Dacia Duster
The Dacia Logan, intended to be sold in world markets as basic transportation, was never supposed to come to America, but somehow, 41 Dacia Logan station wagons found their way to Iowa, sans drivetrain.
The fleet of Romanian-built compacts, engineered in collaboration with Renault, came without VINs as well, since the cars were intended to be converted to electric vehicles. The project seems to have gone belly-up, and the cars are now being auctioned off on Ebay at a starting price of $4,500. Buyers have the option of purchasing a single car or buying in bulk, although registering the cars for road use will undoubtedly be more trouble than its worth.
[Source: Bring A Trailer]
The Pikes Peak Hill Climb event attracts racers and car manufacturers from around the world. In the last quarter-century, the Germans, the Japanese and more recently the South Koreans have had a go in conquering this mountain, and now it looks like its Romania’s turn. Yea, Romania.
Dacia might not be well know in America, but they are getting ready to take on Pikes Peak this year with Jean-Phillipe Dayraut at the wheel. He will be driving a Dacia Duster with a tuned engine out of a Nissan GT-R. Peak output should be around 850-hp and since the car weighs under 2000 lbs., it will be quick.
Dayraut, who has won the French ice-racing series, the Andros Trophy in the last two years, is certainly qualified to handle the task. But in order to win, he has to beat the likes of Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in his modified Suzuki Grand Vitara.
Dacia, which is part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, has recruited Tork Engineering to build their Pikes Peak racer. We can’t wait to see it in action.
Toyota was once famous for its “Kaizen” methods of continuous improvement, whereby incremental changes throughout the product development and production process helped make their cars better. Every business school student has heard stories about Toyota plant employees being given authority to stop the production line so that quality issues can be solved – and we’re about to show you the total opposite of that.
To be fair, the Dacia cars are built to a price, rugged machines intended to bring personal transportation to less fortunate parts of the world. Inevitably, some compromises must be made, and as we can see in this video, quality control is one of them. When the doors don’t quite close properly, the best method is of course, brute force.
Hit the jump to see the video
Rumors that the Dacia Duster could be sold as a Renault have been floating around ever since the vehicle’s launch at the Geneva Auto Show last year, but now comes word that it may also be sold as a Nissan – in markets where Renault doesn’t have a significant presence. “In a market where Nissan had a presence and Renault didn’t, it would be a possibility,” said a company insider to AutoCar. And the most notable of those markets is North America.
For those not familiar with the model, or the brand, the Duster is the first SUV build by Dacia – a sub-brand of Renault (which owns Nissan). It is built in Dacia’s home-market of Romania.
Nissan already has a rather significant crossover and SUV presence in North America and has just added the Juke to that list. The Duster, however, is a true SUV with an optional 4×4 system and real off-road capability. In Europe it is offered with a diesel powerplant only making 105-hp and 266 ft-lbs of torque. And while the Nissan SUV lineup is quite full already, the Duster could fit in under the current Xterra model and really take the fight to Jeep.