2017 - Nouveau Dacia DUSTER

Look-a-like: Dacia Duster and…

This Look-a-like is going to be a bit different, as it is based on a suggestions from CSB readers. In the metaphorical crosshairs this week: Dacia Duster, a car whose second generation recently debuted ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, impressing both Bart and myself. 

First, as suggested by our readers, the rear of the Duster bears a strong resemblance to the Jeep Renegade. This is particularly true of the graphics of the rear lights, which incorporate a crosshair/Phillips screw head motif (albeit set at different angles), a bright inner section and a dark surround, as well as their square shape and placement on the outer edge of the bodywork, such that they almost don’t intrude in the rear hatch opening.

Another aspect of the Duster’s design that has been singled out is the front, which is very similar to the VW Amarok. Although the integrated lights and grille assembly was already present in the first generation Duster, for the second generation it was sharpened to give the car a more aggressive, confident look (the original could be accused of looking a bit droopy). The end product uses a lot of the same tricks that the Amarok uses: chrome elements to liven up the black grille, lights which connect with the grille but are more swept back, from an arial view, and whose lower edge ever so slightly rises for a more dynamic look, and a small “undercut” in the lights’ inner bottom corner, giving them a more squinting, aggressive vibe. Nothing wrong with the end product of course – the design of the front of the original Duster’s front was quickly adopted for the second-generation Dacia lineup, and in the second-generation Duster this design has reached its most elegant conclusion.

  1. The resemblance between Duster I and II is such that matching details are of little significance.
    That said, the taillights are quasi identical in set-up to those of the Jeep.
    I am curious to learn from Renault’s design team whether it did this deliberately.
    Congrats to Renault though – the transformation from DI (“droopy”) to DII (“oozing confidence”), as demonstrated in several YT vid’s, is great design work.

  2. Automobile manufacturers have been copying themselves for eons, as well as other “follow the leader” industries, such as textiles, shoes, etc. Nothin’ new under the sun, since if it becomes successful, all others will want a piece of the pie for themselves. (That’s why there are “Suits”…)

    1. Yes, because copying pays off. Unfortunately.

      Customers like to be fooled and companies in most industries know many ways to fool people to save money. Look at the introduction of the new apple phone. It has features that older phones already could do years ago, but millions of people are unaware of this and simply highlight its exclusivity and other ‘image’ related nonsense. There must be a reason why a ‘new product’ is that expensive, right? Product introductions like this have cognitive dissonance written all over. When people are confronted with a undesirable different reality (“new product isn’t new by comparison”) they will search for ways to decrease these differences between their own reality and the one presented by society by making their choice more believable for themselves. And it will happen over and over again so companies aren’t forced to do anything else.

      As for the car industry, currently we are dealing with brands doing the same thing. We have multiple brands lacking innovation (VAG needed a global scandal to invest in EVs), but still claim to be innovative. Luxury brands offer the same or less for more money and they get away with it by calling these cars ‘premium’. Why? Because you have to pay money for e.g. air conditioning which another cheaper car offers as standard equipment? Same goes with shared platforms/engines/interior parts etc. within a car company. Most people don’t know it. When a company offers something as exclusive, it must be true, right?

      Today’s design era symbolises the unwillingness of car companies to be progressive. To think out-of-the-box. Of course there are exceptions like the BMW i3 and Citroen C4 Cactus, but overall we are dealing with a standstill. From a budget brand like Dacia to the most luxurious brands like Rolls-Royce.

      In the case of the Dacia Duster I think they’re mocking the customer, because on the one hand they go for recognition, but on the other hand they try to make a ‘new’ budget car more trendy which is contradictory and doesn’t resemble Dacia’s brand values at all.

      Two factors causing all of the above:

      – lazy, dependent, non-critical media
      – customer blind acceptance

      1. You’re all over the place Losange. Quite a remarkable braindump. Let me add this:

        Car manufacturing is a low margin bizz.
        Disruptive idea’s are rarely profitable, hence the frequent “play it safe” mode.
        On top of that – I am devil’s advocate here – today’s HB, NB and stationcar design has only changed marginally in the past decades b/c customers seems to appreciate the overall concept, shape and practicality.
        Pre-production customer clinics often confirm manufacturers are on the right track with what they plan to release.

        If you check the video’s showcasing the transformation of Duster I in II, you’ll notice how much has changed.
        A brand without heritage and trackrecord such as Dacia entered the scene 10 years. Both Sandero/Logan (750k a year!!) and Duster proved instant hits. If you sell 2 mln Dusters, have an idea who the average buyer is and what he/she/it expects, you apply evolution instead of revolution.

        As to your ” lazy, dependent, non-critical media” – I am totally with you.

  3. @ Losange: As to your “customer blind acceptance”

    Yeah, that certainly is the case.
    Case in point:The ultra conservative VW design enjoys a large herd of groupies / devoted following.
    A 10 degree instead of 20 degree shoulder line is enough to evoke extreme emotions, both within the VW Vorstand (seen the dripping & slobbering VW chief at the “UNIQUE, WORLD SHATTERING” Polo intro? hilarious) as among the fanatic fan base ;).

    Personally, I really appreciate the understated, fresh Renault approach and design. That brand really stands out in vision and execution. KIA and PSA are getting there too.

    1. Yeah, I know Dacia is new in the business and can’t afford to be revolutionary (although they were at the start) all the time, but when I see the new Duster I see an ‘old-new’ Duster. That’s the problem with today’s global car design (exterior/interior). From budget to luxury brands, evolution turned into a standstill. Car DNA is thrown into a blender and all the pieces are put back together. No new pieces are drawn to make existing cars distinctive anymore. Designer gibberish about every inch being new is simply marketing and quite arrogant if you ask me: “Customers don’t need/want an all new design, because I’m not going to draw one for them, mixing up what they know should do the trick”. Most importantly, the industry should get rid off the myth dynamic and revolutionary designs can’t be profitable. How about the Citroen 2CV and DS back in the day? Nissan Juke? Renault Mégane deux with its prominent rear? To name a few.

      You’re absolutely right about certain cars being appreciated for plausible reasons. No problem. But why does the new Hyundai i30 has to look like the VW Golf? The overall shape of compact hatchbacks cars (i.e. C segment) has become monotonous and brand differences can only be seen looking at the logo, grille and lighting. The vast majority of customers don’t buy cars like the Lancia Delta partly (perhaps predominantly?) because of the different look. Of course, people are free to believe what they think is a nice looking car and a low sales number can have many reasons. I do however blame car companies for the current design standstill resulting into cars like the Delta not getting the success it deserves.

      Picture this, when restaurant A, B, C and D offer the same kind of food, people who visit these restaurants will eat the same kind of food. When they’re fed up with A, they go to B and so on. Customers who want to have a choice can ask for diversity and will get some marketing talk in return about the food still being different. This is why the manufacturers should be more active by offering E, F etc. It benefits them and the customer.
      Back to the car industry, brands and customers should aim for diversity. Most of the time I’m talking about exterior design, let’s open the door of the ‘modern’ car. Over the years, we have seen billion concept cars with futuristic interiors, but at the end of the day interiors stay the same as always. I know, safety regulations. However, plenty of features (e.g. minimalistic steering column/wheel, seats, dashboard) can be changed in favour of passenger safety. Thinking about people still growing in size (especially in Western Europe), instead of building bigger cars, perhaps it’s time to get the most out of the interior? Innovation, please!

      As for customer blind acceptance, people won’t stop buying cars even when they are interchangeable. For that to happen, people need to have more interest in cars. We should have some boundaries. How on earth can we expect brands to be innovative, be progressive, not fooling us on a global scale when we blindly accept conservatism? Taking VW as an easy example, I think customers should not accept the Arteon being introduced as upmarket, because it shares the platform, interior and most of its engines with the Passat. We are allowed to ask for more otherwise these companies will never change and will continue fooling (corporate) customers by using marketing tactics.

  4. Here in Uruguay, the Renault Duster 1.6 2wd costs US$ 25,000, the 2.0 2wd costs 28,000, and the 2.0 4wd costs US$ 30,000. Now that’s theft.

  5. @Krzysztof Wozniak: nothing to worry about, LOL

    “Vive La France, Vive La Difference”, if I am correct.
    Used to be Losange’s nickname on Dutch Autoweek.

    On AW, VlFVLD proved a true advocate of French automotive products.
    In the “Deutschland Uber Alles” ambient on that site, I often sympathized with his crusade.;)

    1. Yes, I used that name on different Dutch websites like AW. Like many others I got banned immediately when I brought up their short-sighted pro-German way of ‘journalism’. Typical censorship of dependent Dutch car media.

      But RickM is too nice for me. Although I do prefer French cars (own a couple) and I never can get enough about German car enthusiasts going crazy when they find out Audi interiors are made in France or when they excessively defend German innovation and quality even after the VAG scandal, it’s more the “Difference” part that describes my love for cars. Irrelevant of nationality, I like diversity within companies and between brands.

      That’s probably why I still enjoy reading RickM’s diverse, poetic, and informative posts 🙂 They’re simply one of a kind!

      1. Losange – the relaxed atmosphere on a quality site such as Krzysztof’s CSB (and BSC from Matt Gasnier) is a blessing.

        The reason I once started to comment on Autoweek was b/c fellow readers such yourself often added relevant or interesting information. Besides, the quality of AW’s own articles is extremely poor, often amateurish and biased. Unfortunately many benign info-swap’s among readers become distorted by “strange men with unfriendly intentions”.
        You know what I mean: If these yobbo’s happen to favor VW they get away with their insults.

        Banned you said? Welcome to the club! 😉 Exactly 2 years ago 2 AW employees downplayed – worse, denied – VW’s betrayal on radio and TV. And such AFTER VW ITSELF admitted it acted wrongfully! I mentioned this denial in a trace with hundreds of reactions. In simple, non-offensive words. Result: I was thrown of site. Silly. Not even in Russia this kind of censorship occurs.
        Back to the brave Duster and your design observation: Happen to know Cor Steenstra, car designer. Had a discussion today about what’s on display at the IAA. He lamented / dislikes the lame VW approach 😉

  6. Kris, little addition:

    The cunning Carlos G at Renault and the smart Carlos T at PSA prove the French are a force to be reckoned with.
    Both “out-earn” Volkswagen in many disciplines. Not the least operational margin.
    In contrast, VW often pretends a lot & claims “bragging rights”. No idea why…. 😉

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.