Dacia Denem Image

The Dreadful dacia Denem

The car that gave the word 'cheap' a bad name

The Dacia Denem was an excellent example of a very well designed car that was brought low by Eastern European engineering standards and quality control.

The Renault 12 was roomy, comfortable, reliable and economical. So much so that altogether about 2 1/2 million of them were sold. It had a reliable 1300 cc engine producing a top speed of 90 mph. Many of them were built abroad under licence, including in Romania. Eventually the car became somewhat obsolete, though, and Renault moved onto better things; Dacia in Romania did not.

It was not just that they continued to assemble a car that was out of date. They assembled it in the shoddiest way imaginable. An attempt was made to sell them in the UK; this was hardly done professionally. As an example, their advertising slogan was 'The very acceptablel Dacia Denem'. Fortunately the great British public didn't consider them acceptable at all so hardly any were sold over here apart from, reputedly, a small fleet bought by the Romanian embassy. Even these were got rid of as soon as Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was safely dead and the Embassy staff could buy decent second hand cars instread

Despite all this the vehicle was a success overall with nearly one and a half million of them produced altogether. Over the years other variants have been introduced such as a pickup, hatchback and a coupe. Attempts to sell any of these in Britain have however met with complete indifference from the buying public, despite the very low prices that they were offered at.

The original Renault 12 was a good solid reliable vehicle. Romanian craftsmanship at it's worst reduced it to a shabby and unreliable hack that only sold because there was precious little else available at the time in Eastern Europe.

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