CRAIOVA, Romania – High ranking Romanian Government officials attended a round table discussion on the country’s transport infrastructure and the challenges facing the automotive industry, at Ford’s Craiova assembly plant yesterday.
Romanian Deputy Prime Minister, Costin Grigore Borc, Transport Minister, Petru Sorin Buse, the Minister of Public Finance, Anca Dana Dragu, and His Excellency, the United States Ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm, were among those who attended the event which was supported by the Association of Automotive Manufacturers of Romania (ACAROM)
The automotive industry plays a key role in the Romanian economy, generating over 200,000 jobs and a turnover of approximately 20 billion Euros. Approximately 40 per cent of the workforce is active in the south of Romania. Improving the road and rail infrastructure could attract even more investors to the region.
In March this year, Ford announced it will invest up to 200 million Euros at Craiova for production of the Ford EcoSport SUV.
John Oldham, President of Ford Romania and the manager of Craiova plant stated: “Infrastructure and logistics are two major topics for Ford’s activity in Craiova and we highlighted this aspect at the beginning of the year, when we announced new investments in our Romanian plant. It is essential to maintain a constructive dialogue with Romanian authorities and with the other players from the industry, in order to find solutions for solving these challenges.”
The objective of the debate in Craiova was to discuss not just improving the road and rail infrastructure, but also to establish a working group at Government level responsible for the delivery of these priority projects.
“Ford has made an important contribution to Romania. It has helped the growth of competiveness among local suppliers and also attracted new foreign suppliers that were integrated in Ford’s production chain,” said Deputy Prime Minister Costin Borc. ”Also, we must notice the contribution Ford has on the trade balance in Romania, with Ford production being oriented almost 100 per cent towards export.”
According to data provided by the Romanian Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure, 90 per cent of freight is transported by road, but only 64 km of new highways were opened in Romania in 2015. Highways represent just 4.2 per cent of the country’s national roads.
“We want to be as competitive as possible, so a highway network is vital for Craiova and obtaining a clear timeline for the delivery of this project is absolutely necessary for our operations in Romania,” added Oldham. “Ford is fully committed to Craiova and Romania where we’ve so far invested over 1 billion Euros.”
Ford has approximately 2,600 employees in its Craiova plant and currently manufactures the Ford B-MAX, and also the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that received the “International Engine of the Year” award four years in a row.