1. At the beginning of 2016, you announced new investments for Ford in the Craiova facility; how has this process developed so far? What are your plans in terms of investments and turnover for 2017?
In March this year, Ford has announced an additional investment at our Craiova site, of up to EUR 220 million to support the production of our new small SUV – Ford EcoSport. As mentioned by our CEO Jim Farley, back in March, we plan to start the production of this new vehicle in the next fall and this is indeed a key milestone for our operations in Romania.
And by that I’m not only referring to the fact that we’re a national manufacturer, but I believe we also have very good potential with this vehicle on our local sales, especially if you look at the continuous increase of the SUV segment not only in Europe, but also in Romania.
We generally do not share information regarding our turnover and forecasts, but it’s obvious that we will soon see the changes at the operational level inside the plant. Basically we’re at the stage where the plant is getting readier and readier to ‘accommodate’, let’s say, the production of the new EcoSport.
2. Please define Ford Romania in figures, as part of an industry which is providing more than 200,000 jobs and generating a turnover of over EUR 20 billion.
Again, I would like to concentrate not on our financial figures, but rather on some other key figures and I would start by mentioning our over EUR 1 billion invested in the state of the art technology and facility we have here in Craiova.
Due to our investment and continuous commitment to bring and ‘create’ technology in Romania, Craiova is now one of Ford’s most modern production facilities that we have and it does play a strategic and key role, at the same time, on Ford’s manufacturing footprint at the global level.
And none of these would have been or is possible without our very skilled and talented workforce that we have in Craiova. As Henry Ford used to say, people are the most important asset for our company and we’re proud to be working with almost 2,700 employees we currently have at the plant. Of course, to these we need to also add the workforce of our suppliers and their investments to support our operations.
Craiova will become the single source of supply for the EcoSport sold across Europe, excluding the Russian market and this is an important step for Craiova, as Ford sees the overall sports utility market as a major opportunity in the years ahead.