A limited number of Dacia Duster utes will be produced by the Romanian car manufacturer for a petrol company in its homeland.
Romanian website Wall Street is reporting that Dacia and local coachbuilder Romturingia will manufacture a limited number of Duster utes for OVM Petrom, claimed to be the country’s largest company and a major producer of oil and gas across Eastern Europe.
Just 500 units will be produced in total by the end of 2015, with the first few units already delivered to the client.
Based on the facelifted version of the Duster SUV, the ute is equipped with the top-of-the-range drivetrain. This marries a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel, with 81kW of power and 240Nm of torque, to an all-wheel drive system.
According to Dacia, the modified Duster has a 1.7-metre long tray area and can carry up to 450kg worth of gear in the back.
Practically production-ready prototypes of the ute were spotted earlier this year and published on Facebook. Badging aside, the final vehicle looks unchanged from those pre-production models.
According to Top Gear Romania, the project began back in 2012, and Petrom will use its fleet of Duster utes to help monitor and maintain the company’s 9000 or so active oil wells across the country.
While this version of the Duster ute is limited to Romania, Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker said at the 2014 Paris motor show that the French brand will use the Dacia Duster platform to produce a small ute for South America.
“In Sao Paolo next month we’ll be launching a concept car that previews a small pick-up truck,” he said. “The only platform we could possibly have in South America is the Duster.
“There are markets like South America and the US where 50 per cent is pick-up trucks. If you don’t have it, you don’t play,” he said.
“There, it’s – small utes, at least – a market that is very much lifestyle, but still functional, and it competes with cars like the Fiat Strada.”