Dacia Manifesto concept is a stripped-back off-road buggy showcasing sustainability ideas

Does not pre-figure any upcoming models

The spartan minimalism of Dacia’s Manifesto concept car, revealed this morning, hints not at future models from the budget-friendly car-maker but at some of the ways the company could potentially pare back and simplify its cars in future, in order to keep costs down.

While Dacia, may not include levels of spec as high as some of its rivals, the Manifesto takes things to the extreme, looking something like a moon buggy or Lego model, with no doors or windows — not even a windscreen.

This, the company says, is to create a closer connection between nature and the occupants (that’s one way of putting it), though there’s actually some method to this apparent madness — the company hopes to target customers with an interest in outdoor pursuits who are attracted to the brand because of cars such as the tough and relatively low-cost Duster SUV.

Dacia Manifesto concept

The Manifesto is definitely equipped to deal with outdoor pursuits, with permanent four-wheel drive, a hose-down interior, chunky wheels, a raised ride height and a tough plastic body made from a recycled polypropylene material known as Starkle, which has a flecked effect.

Recycled plastics, Dacia says, will play a big part in its models going forward. At present, 12% of the plastics used in the Duster are recycled, but the company is aiming for a target of 20% in future, including visible external parts.

The tyres in the Manifesto are airless and, according to Dacia are durable and puncture-proof and will last as long as the vehicle.

Although the Manifesto includes an illuminated strip of light below the base of the aperture where a windscreen would ordinarily be, there’s actually only one headlight (“Why use two if one provides all the light you need?” the company asks, rhetorically). That headlight can be detached and used as a powerful torch.

Dacia Manifesto concept

Up top, like Dacia’s current Jogger and Sandero Stepway models, a modular roof-rack means that the bars can be configured to take loads of all shapes and sizes.

The clever features continue inside, with the seat covers easily removed to double as sleeping bags, while the dashboard is finished in recyclable cork, all decorative trims removed.

Like the Jogger, instead of an infotainment screen, there’s a slot into which users can slot their smartphone to use as a multimedia system.

Dacia Manifesto concept

“Naturally, what is and is not deemed essential changes over time,” said the firm.

“Air conditioning was not seen as an essential 18 years ago, but it is today. Conversely, Dacia questions the point of fitting two or three screens in a car when there is a swift and smart way to pair your smartphone with the vehicle, evidenced via Dacia’s Media Control system.”

It’s this strategy of sticking to “the essentials” that will allow Dacia, it says, to keep costs down over time and keep its vehicles lighter and simpler, reducing their overall environmental impact.

Dacia hasn’t said exactly what’s powering the Manifesto, but it does include a “dedicated and removable battery” supplying power through a household outlet to lights, pumps or anything else requiring electrical power.

“We want to build a range of products that strengthens our brand promise, focusing on the essentials and adapting our vehicles for outdoor activities,” said Lionel Jaillet, Product Performance Director at Dacia.

“Beyond our models, we are also working on innovative features that match our customers’ need and lifestyles even more closely. Manifesto Concept is a ‘lab’ to try out and mock up new ideas. The version you can see today will keep on evolving as we keep on exploring!”

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