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dacia 1

FOUNDED: 1966 (Mioveni, Romania)

FOUNDER(S): State-owned

YEARS OF OPERATION: 1966–present

BEST-KNOWN MODELS: Duster, Sandero, Logan

In just a decade, Dacia has gone from a little-known Romanian marque to a global automotive power. Under the stewardship of the Renault Group, the low-cost brand has become a bestseller in some markets, and highly rated in most others. Its factory is now Europe’s fifth biggest car plant.

The company was founded in 1966 under the name Uzina de Autoturisme Pitesti (UAP). Dacia, the name that has appeared on all the cars, refers to the old name for the region now known as Romania, where it is based. Dacia originally made rebadged or slightly modified versions of old Renault vehicles. In 1999, Renault took over the company and transformed production so that, by 2004, a new wave of globally competitive cars emerged. These new value-for-money Dacias were well received.

This fast-moving history has been accompanied by some similarly rapid changes to the logo. The present Dacia emblem is a plain chrome device with the word “Dacia” in blue capitals. It resembles a shield, a buckle, or perhaps a car door handle. Its simplicity conveys the brand image of no-frills, cost-effective products.

Early Dacia badges were shield-shaped and featured a traditional Romanian symbol of a stylized eagle with spread wings, perched on top of a mountain. Later, the eagle was dropped and the word “Dacia” appeared in an elaborate typeface evocative of Eastern Europe. The typeface was later simplified within a simple blue shield, and then the current design took over in 2008.

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