Skip advert
Advertisement

Dacia, Kia and MG have gone from no-hopers to celebrated winners

Mike Rutherford thinks Dacia, Kia and MG were once considered underdogs, but the 2024 Driver Power results show just how far all three manufacturers have come

Opinion - Dacia Duster

For those struggling to survive while feeling isolated, skint and unloved, the unlikely trio of Dacia, Kia and MG might just be in a position to offer a little hope and inspiration.

Within the past quarter century, these three firms hit rock-bottom and in effect became homeless orphans but, thankfully, found new parents to adopt them and provide much-needed nurturing and financial stability. The result? Dacia, Kia and MG went from lonely no-hopers to celebrated winners. How so? Because all three have not only found the talent, products and confidence to take on some of the biggest and best car makers in the world, they’ve also sometimes beaten them at their own game. Who’d ever have thought it, eh?

Dacia is one of the finest examples of a zero-to-hero company out there. Born in Romania in 1966 to strict Communist parents, its childhood years were brutal. But since being adopted by France/Renault in 1999, it’s blossomed. There’s no finer proof of this than in the first of our 2024 Driver Power surveys when the Mk2 Dacia Duster introduced in 2017 was voted the undisputed No.1 model for customer satisfaction. Not content with that, the small SUV also came out tops for value and infotainment, connectivity and electrics. Rival manufacturers charging more for their SUVs need to analyse why and how they’re demanding higher prices for products that – according to the paying public – aren’t as satisfying to buy, own and run.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

In the same major survey, Kia also did well – far better than fellow Korean Hyundai, the parent who adopted it. Most Kia conversations of late have centred around its impressive but pricey EV6 and EV9. Yet it’s at the lower end of its line-up where the firm enjoys its latest Driver Power successes. Picanto Mk3 is 12th (of 50) overall for customer satisfaction and also won the important City Car category. But the small/medium Sportage hits the spot too. In Mk5 guise it came in at No. 11 in the satisfaction league. More importantly, though, the latest-generation version was the best-selling car in Britain last month and it (or the Ford Puma) is likely be the No.1 seller here by year’s end.

Never-say-die MG isn’t far behind with its ZS and HS models, which have both featured in the Top 10 list of best sellers so far this year. Also, with an impressive 35,732 MGs sold between January and May, the Brit-born firm now under Chinese parenthood has already caught up with and overtaken Skoda, Tesla, Volvo, Peugeot, Renault and Land Rover. And if the likes of Vauxhall, Hyundai, Toyota and Mercedes aren’t petrified that MG might soon do the same to them, they bloody well should be.

Not long ago, Dacia, Kia and MG were considered underdogs. But this is no longer the case. Dacia is the undisputed leader of the bargain-basement pack. Kia is outdoing and outselling its ‘bigger and superior’ parent. And MG is giving its former British cousins – MINI, Jaguar and Land Rover – masterclasses in how to design and build a full range of electric cars and petrol cars, how to price them right, and how to sell them in big numbers.

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Chief columnist

Mike was one of the founding fathers of Auto Express in 1988. He's been motoring editor on four tabloid newspapers - London Evening News, The Sun, News of the World & Daily Mirror. He was also a weekly columnist on the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Sunday Times. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Most reliable small cars to buy 2024
Most reliable small cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Most reliable small cars to buy 2024

We reveal the most reliable small cars you can buy, according to our latest Driver Power survey
17 Jul 2024
Most reliable family cars to buy 2024
Most reliable family cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Most reliable family cars to buy 2024

These are the most reliable family cars you can buy, according to our Driver Power survey
10 Jul 2024
Most reliable 4x4s and SUVs to buy
Most reliable SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Most reliable 4x4s and SUVs to buy

We reveal the most reliable 4x4s and SUVs, according to our Driver Power survey
27 Jun 2024
Take the Driver Power survey today: £100 prize every month
Driver Power car ownership
Articles

Take the Driver Power survey today: £100 prize every month

Tell us about your car in the Driver Power survey, you’ll be entered into a prize draw where we give away a £100 Amazon voucher every month.
21 Jun 2024

Most Popular

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring
Kia Sportage facelift spyshot 1
News

New Kia Sportage facelift caught on camera at the Nurburgring

Kia’s big-selling mid-size SUV is about to get a makeover for 2025
19 Jul 2024
New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction
Volkswagen Golf facelift 2024 UK - front
Road tests

New Volkswagen Golf 2024 facelift review: updates are a step in the right direction

The Volkswagen Golf has been updated to keep it competitive against the likes of the Skoda Octavia and Honda Civic
19 Jul 2024
New Kia Picanto 2024 facelift review: classy small car keeps big car appeal
Kia Picanto facelift UK - front
Road tests

New Kia Picanto 2024 facelift review: classy small car keeps big car appeal

Kia's revised Picanto city car remains a grown-up choice with plenty of appeal for buyers
19 Jul 2024