MIOVENI, Romania – Automobile Dacia S.A., the Romanian car plant owned 92.7% by Renault SA, exported 1,240 units in the first two months of this year, a jump of 266% from like-2002.

Dacia shipped 1,034 units of the SupeRNova passenger car and 206 pickup trucks. The main export market was Ukraine with 480 units, followed by Syria (395), Serbia and Montenegro (152) and Algeria (103).

Dacia Solenza

Dacia plans to export more than 10,000 vehicles in 2003. The company expects an additional boost from the Dacia Solenza, a facelifted version of the SupeRNova, which was introduced to the Romanian market in April (see related story: New Dacia Solenza to Pave Way for €5,000 Car).

"We need to export, we want to export, and we think that with the Solenza we have reached a satisfactory level of quality, so we can export without damage for the Dacia brand and the Renault Group," says Georges Douin, Renault’s executive vice president-Product and Strategic Planning and International Operations.

The Solenza has a restyled front and a partially revamped rear, plus a modernized interior, but Renault underlines the importance of Solenza’s improved quality.

"We have made a tremendous engineering (effort toward) having good body accuracy," says Douin. "We have renewed all the stamping tools. We have established a new paint shop, so the total quality of the car should be recognized. Thanks to this, we expect a new volume effect, even this year."

Dacia’s main export regions are Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Renault plans to increase distribution synergies in the region. One example is Morocco, where the local importer Renault Maroc also distributes Dacia vehicles.

Dacia Solenza also should pave the way for even larger export volumes of the so-called €5,000 ($5,504) car, which will be launched next year. The Solenza will be produced alongside the new Dacia for several years.