- Dacia Media

Should Dacia ship to Australia?

Why they should, and why they shouldn't.

I cannot believe I'm writing this article, but after watching Tim Rodie's Dacia Sandero review (you should check it out, it's very good), for the very first time, I was intrigued by the Romanian car company, which has never graced my shores. But should they? Would Dacia succeed in the relatively quiet Australian car market, which has spent most of its time dominated by Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai?

As someone who is fascinated by statistics and graphs, I'm going to be using them to determine the chances of Dacia's success.

As someone who has spent their life living in Sydney, Australia, I've never experienced a world without a concoction of Corollas, CX5s and Hilux's. For those who are from the US, almost every single Australian tradesman owns a Hilux. And few wonder why.

Dacia Media

Dacia Media

Before I start, why am I talking about Dacia?

In short, having never experienced a several of the less popular of the European car makers, such as SEAT and Dacia, I've never bothered watching reviews of them, since there has never been a need to. But after clicking on Tim Rodie's review of the Dacia Sandero, I suddenly, and strangely, became intrigued by the little Romanian car. As someone who has grown up siding with Jeremy Clarkson's opinion of the Sandero, I never thought I could actually find it INTERESTING.

The top of the range model, which costs the equivalent of an almighty $15,000 AUD, has an 8in (20cm) touch screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, it has a leather wrapped steering wheel, and it has LED lights on all models, including the base model!

But I digress.

Dacia Media

Dacia Media

First, let's look at what Australia likes.

In 2020, the best selling vehicle was... the Toyota Hilux. And it doesn't help my argument to say that the second best selling vehicle was the Ford Ranger, another pickup. The Toyota RAV4 nabs 3rd, and the Toyota Corolla, now more expensive, takes 4th. With that in mind, maybe an ultra cheap hatchback may not be such a bad idea? From 2011-2015, the best selling car in Australia was either the Mazda 3, or the Toyota Corolla, so it's clear that the hatchback succeeds in Australia, but do European hatchbacks succeed?

Upon comparing European and Asian hatchbacks, it’s clear that there are some stark contrasts. While European hatchbacks such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Renault Megane and the Volkswagen Golf focus on style, comfort and sometimes performance, Asian hatchbacks such as the Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla and Mazda 2, tend to focus more on affordability, reliability, and practicality, however there are some exceptions.

The Problem

The question is; does Dacia fit into Australia’s preferred hatchback type, or is it better suited to its homeland?

It’s very clear that the Dacia Sandero is popular in Europe. The new Sandero has won “Best Small Car” from What Car?, 9 years in a row. Not to mention the 7 awards that the previous iteration of the Sandero won during its 2008-2020 production run.

Recently, the Australian hatchback industry has been hit by some serious drops in interest, after the newest Corolla shot up in price, making it less feasible than ever before. As a result, their place on the podium was lost to the RAV4 (Don’t worry, Toyota is still up there..)

Maybe a Dacia Sandero wouldn’t be such a bad idea? Sure, there are cheap cars already being sold here, but a $14,307 car is cheaper than the Kia Picanto, the cheapest car currently on sale in Australia, bigger than the Kia Picanto, and possibly better value? (Sorry Noah Charalambous).

The Solution

The only thing holding me back from saying “Buy the Sandero if you are on a really tight budget” is the fact that the Sandero Stepway received a 2 star NCAP safety rating a few days ago. While the Sandero may have a different rating when it is eventually tested, it’s not a good sign. Although the Sandero previously scored 4 stars, it may not be the same now.

In the end, it really comes down to preference. The price gap between the Picanto and hypothetical Australian Sandero is not really enough for Dacia to drop everything and set up shop down under, so if they do, the choice would be based on preference, not price.

So to answer the question: A Sandero MIGHT do well in Australia, but there’s no guarantee it will sell in an Australiasian market.

Thanks for reading! If you like what you see, comment what you think!


16 April 2021 · Tom White, et al. “Australia's Top-Selling New Cars of 2015.” CarsGuide, www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/australias-top-selling-new-cars-of-2015-37643.

6 April 2021 · Mark Oastler, et al. “Top 100 New Cars Sold in Australia in 2020.” CarsGuide, www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/top-100-new-cars-sold-in-australia-in-2020-82038.

Beissmann, Daniel DeGasperi & Tim. “Car Sales 2013 : Toyota Corolla Steals Title of Australia's Most Popular Car: CarAdvice.” CarAdvice.com, 6 Jan. 2014, www.caradvice.com.au/265366/car-sales-2013-toyota-corolla-steals-title-australias-popular-car/.

Configurator - Dacia UK, www.dacia.co.uk/vehicles/sandero/configurator.html.

Configurator - Dacia UK, www.dacia.co.uk/vehicles/sandero/configurator.html.

CostelloContributor, Mike, and Mike Costello. “2014 Car Sales: Winners and Losers: CarAdvice.” CarAdvice.com, 6 Jan. 2015, www.caradvice.com.au/328099/2014-car-sales-winners-and-losers/.

Guest. “Australia Top Selling Car Data (2012) Shows Shift to Japanese Brands.” ACA Research, www.acaresearch.com.au/australian-market-research-blog/bid/282052/Australia-top-selling-car-data-2012-shows-shift-to-Japanese-brands#:~:text=Mazda%203%20continues%20to%20be,popular%20automotive%20brand%20in%20Australia.

Terlato, Peter. “Australia's Best-Selling Cars 2016.” Finder.com.au, 2 Apr. 2020, www.finder.com.au/australias-best-selling-cars-2016#:~:text=Toyota's%20Hilux%20(42%2C104)%20was%20the,either%20light%20commercials%20or%20SUVs.

“VFACTS – Top Selling Cars in 2011.” Fleet Auto News, 17 Jan. 2018, fleetautonews.com.au/vfacts-top-selling-cars-in-2011/.

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Comments (13)

  • they shouldn't, cuz every one of them would be destroyed as soon as saw them

      2 months ago
  • No i dont live in australia or uk so ive never seen this car in my life

      2 months ago
  • Thoughts ?

      1 month ago
  • Dacia is Renault, isn't it? Aren't we already getting something similar, branded by both Renault and Mitsubishi? So, what is the point?

      2 months ago
    • Sure, they are similar with regards to the company, but the car is very different. There is no "low budget" Renault being sold in Australia, whereas the Dacia would be the car to fill that gap.

        2 months ago
    • Isn't some Renault's are re-branded KIA's?

        2 months ago