First unveiled unveiled on last December 2009, the Dacia Duster was designed with the goal of creating a comfortable, robust and affordable 4×4, aimed primarily at emerging markets.
The needs of European customers were also taken into account from the start of the project.
"In emerging markets (Russia, Brazil, etc.), the middle classes aspire to own a modern car that reflects their social status. At the same time, they want a strong car which is both reliable and versatile, capable of withstanding extreme climatic demands and conditions that can be tough and varied (long distances, mountainous terrain, rough tracks, urban driving, often within large conurbations, etc.).
"In Europe, the success of Dacia has demonstrated that a market exists for modern, reliable and affordable cars. While the existing range of 4x4s and SUVs is very large, it neglects the market for functional and affordable all-terrain vehicles, favouring instead showy SUVs, which are expensive and often poorly adapted to all-terrain use.
The Duster project was developed with a collaborative engineering between Renault Technologie Romania (RTR) and Le Losange (new name of Renault’s Technocentre site near Versailles) in France.
From the stage of the second fleet of prototypes (roughly one year before the launch of Duster), the nerve centre of the project moved to Romania to be closer to the factory.
Vehicle design was conducted at Le Losange, in cooperation with Renault Design Central Europe (RDCE, the satellite design facility in Bucharest).
Duster arrived at the Pitesti factory in April 2009. This process was facilitated by a new production line for prototypes which is managed directly by Renault Technologie Romania.
This production line is located within the factory, making it easier to train the assembly staff. Duster necessitated several modifications to the production lines in Pitesti: a new body shop was built specifically for this model; the assembly line was modified for the new powertrains and 4×4 transmission, while revisions were made to the supply logistics and storage of raw materials in the metal stamping process, in line with the overall factory management scheme. In all, six different body styles are now produced on the same assembly line.
Of this total, just under €70 million was invested in the production facility.
A good level of carry-over reduced the overall level of investment: in total, just over 50 per cent of components come from other vehicles in the Dacia and Renault ranges (engine and gearbox, for example).
The maximum production capacity at Pitesti is 25 Duster vehicles per hour. In time, Duster could account for over one third of total production at Pitesti.