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Dacia (IPA:['da.ʧi.a]) is a Romanian car manufacturer, named for the historic region that constitutes much of present-day Romania. It is now a subsidiary of the French carmaker Renault.

The beginnings

Dacia was founded in 1967 with assistance from Renault and the main Dacia factory was built in 1968, in Colibaşi (now called Mioveni), near Piteşti.

Dacia acquired the tooling and basic designs of the Renault 12. However, until the tooling was ready it was decided to produce the Renault 8 under licence; it was known as the Dacia 1100. From 1968 to 1972, some 44,000 were produced, with a very minor cosmetic change to the front in early 1970. Also produced in very limited numbers was the 1100S, with twin headlamps and a more powerful engine, used by the police and in motor racing. None are thought to survive.




Dacia models


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2000 dacia novaNOVA



The first Dacia 1300 left the assembly line ready for the 23 August parade in 1969, and was exhibited at the Paris and Bucharest shows of that year. Romanians were delighted with the modernity and reliability of the car, and waiting lists were always lengthy. As early as 1970, there were several variants: the standard 1300, the 1300L (for Lux) and the 1301 Lux Super, which had novelties such as a heated rear screen, a radio, windscreen mirrors on both sides and a more luxurious trim. This was reserved for the Communist Party nomenklatura.

Changes soon followed as export markets opened up. In 1972, the estate variant, 1300 Break, was produced. There were 1300F (estate with no rear seats, for carrying goods) and 1300S (ambulance) variants, and in 1973 the Dacia 1302 pick-up was developed. 2000 examples were made until 1982. Dacia also produced the D6, a CKD version of the Renault Estafette van, in limited numbers, but given the competition of the Bucharest-made T.V. van, numbers were very limited. In the very early 1980s, the Renault 20 was also assembled as the Dacia 2000; because of the exclusivity of this model numbers were always very limited. The 2000 was only available in dark blue or black, and was reserved for the Party elite.

At the Bucharest show in 1979, the restyled 1310 models were presented. These had quad lamps at the front, larger lamps at the rear, re-profiled bumpers, and a new interior. The changes were heavily inspired by Renault's own restyling of its 12 in 1975. After a brief series of "crossover" cars in 1979 (for example, there were no more rectangular headlights available for the 1300, so the last models used the quad lamps of the 1310), the 1310 finally hit the Romanian market in late 1979. In the UK, where it was known as the Dacia Denem, the top of the range model included such luxuries as a five-speed gearbox, alloy wheels and electric windows. The advertising slogan used for the car was "The Very Acceptable Dacia Denem", but this proved not to be the case with the British buyers, who increasingly opted for the more reliable Japanese, South Korean and Malaysian models. Sales were very limited, and the number surviving are not thought to exceed single figures, although the Romanian Embassy in South Kensington kept a fleet running until the mid-1990s. Sales of the pick-up version, known as the Shifter, continued until about 1990, and the Aro 10 was also sold as the Dacia Duster. The plug was pulled on the Denem, however, in late 1982.



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