Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dacia Duster to be New Xterra/Rogue?

Though I'm not sure I agree with all of the article below I do agree with enough of it to say that this plan sounds plausible.

A number of auto media outlets are reporting that Renault insiders are talking about the above vehicle coming to the U.S. as a Nissan. Currently the Dacia Duster is made and marketed under the Dacia name (Dacia is a subsidiary of Renault) throughout Europe and is made in Romania of all places, with a Nissan built 4WD system.

The Xterra is long in the tooth...Six model years long and looking squarely in the face at a many vehicles remain virtually unchanged (sorry, Mickey Mouse ear rooflights don't count) for nearly a decade nowadays? Yes, the Xterra is platform partners with the Frontier, Titan, Pathy, etc. but Nissan must be just dieing to update these models at this point and bringing in some new blood must be tempting.

The Duster is just offroad worthy enough to still attract some of that market and yet is even softer than the current Xterra in its rounded looks and smoother lines to fit in with the Rogue and Murano quite well thank you.

Where I disagree with the analysis below is in regards to the engine it would bring with it...#1) a diesel with 103 hp, no matter what the torque, is not going to cut it here (best 0-60 performance for the vehicle is 11.5 seconds!!!) and unless production is moved out of Romania or VQs are shipped to Romania, some major hurdles remain here. The Duster is scheduled to begin production by Renault in Brazil in 2011 and will be distributed as far north as Mexico as a Renault, so seeing a Nissan badge go on it and coming over the border wouldn't be that surprising. Additionally the Duster will go on sale in the UK in 2012 and relaunch Dacia there. Given that the vehicle will be available around the world and in nearly every other market, would it really be a surprise if it came here in some form?? #2) Slotting the Duster in below the Xterra and above the Rogue/Juke makes little sense. The Duster prices out at nearly $18,000 in Europe, this puts it squarely in the low end of the Rogue's price range and the higher end of the Juke's range and lets not kid ourselves, this is no Jeep killer...

Best guess on this one is that it REPLACES the Rogue entirely. There were talks about one year ago that the Rogue was only going to be a one trick pony in its current iteration and that the next version would be new from the ground up. The Duster certainly would be that and would fit in the Rogue's price range as well...If a decent powerplant could be found for it you could be looking at the next Rogue...

From Autocar...

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.

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