Much of the Romanian manufacturing industry consists of branch plants of foreign firms, though there are some important domestic manufacturers, such as Automobile Dacia, Roman Braşov and Igero. Branch plants provide mainly blue collar jobs, with research and executive positions confined abroad. In 2008, some 245,308 automobiles were produced in Romania, up from 78,146 in 2000.
During the Communist period, Romania was one of the largest automobile producers in Central and Eastern Europe, however the industry declined after the 1989 revolution. Previously, other domestic manufacturers such as Tractorul Braşov, ARO and Oltcit existed, however they eventually went bankrupt due to botched privatization in the 1990s. Since 1990, several foreign companies, including Mercedes, Audi, Hyundai, Volvo, Toyota and Peugeot, expressed interest in opening branch plants in Romania, but corruption, uncooperative governments and the mineriads prevented them from doing so. As a result, the Romanian car manufacturing industry currently lags behind neighboring countries such as Hungary or Ukraine.
Ford bought the Automobile Craiova plant for $57 million, planning to produce automobiles at a rate of over 300,000 units a year by 2010. Ford said it would invest €675 million (US$923 million) in the former Daewoo car factory and that it would buy supplies from the Romanian market worth €1 billion (US$1.39 billion). In September 2009, the company began to assemble the Ford Transit Connect in Craiova, and in 2012, production of the new Ford B-MAX was started.
Robert Bosch GmbH, the world’s largest supplier of automotive components will invest as much as 60 million euros ($79 million) in a new factory in Jucu - Romania. The new Bosch facility will produce electronic components for automobiles, and will create about 2,000 jobs.
Dacia Logan was the top-selling new car in Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of 2007 with 52,750 units sold, ahead of Skoda Fabia (41,227 units), Skoda Octavia (33,483 units), Opel Astra (16,442 units) and Ford Focus (14,909 units).
In 2012, Dacia launched four new models: the Lodgy and the Dokker, and the second generations of the Logan and Sandero.
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