Dacia was a fledgling Romanian brand when it was bought by Renault in 1999. Since then, it has been transformed into a success story thanks to its cheap, reliable cars that have taken Western Europe by storm.
The Dacia brand has its roots in Romania's communist past, as former dictator Nicoale Ceausescu wanted a local factory to produce cars. So the communist regime sought an international partner in the 60s to set up the factory. This partner was Renault, and production of cars under license started in 1968 with a local version of the Renault 8 model, named Dacia 1100. One year later, the assembly of the more modern Renault 12 began, under the name Dacia 1300.
The quality of the assembled cars took a hit during the 80s as the communist regime cut the links with Renault in a bid to produce everything locally. After the Romanian Revolution, Dacia was not immediately and tried to survive as an independent producer. New models were launched, but none could compete with more modern Western vehicles which started to flood the Romanian market.
Renault bought the brand and the factory in Mioveni, Arges county, and started developing a cheap "5000 euro" car. The Logan was launched in 2004, but its price never hit the ambitious target. However, the Logan is credited with relaunching the brand and developed into a whole new range of cars, all using the same basic platform. The most successful of these models is the compact SUV Dacia Duster.