3. Ford has stated that the infrastructure and logistics are major concerns for the company. From this point of view, how would you describe the situation in Romania now?
We do believe that Craiova is the right home for our new EcoSport and because of the excellent people and operations we have here.
The decision to produce the new EcoSport in Romania also follows productive discussions with the Romanian Government on developing a positive framework to help Ford transition from its existing investment to this new opportunity and to help maintain the global competitiveness of the Ford Craiova manufacturing operations.
As you may know already, Ford has agreed with the Romanian Government that key improvements to rail and road infrastructure will be needed to support the anticipated increase in volume of components and finished vehicles coming in and out of our manufacturing facility.
We do welcome any improvements made to the key roads and rail projects and we’ll continue working with national and local government partners to ensure their timely implementation.
As part of our strong commitment and special attention we pay to this topic, we’ve hosted, in the presence of relevant Romanian authorities, a dedicated roundtable event on infrastructure and we shared on that occasion some relevant information on this topic.
As an example, the improvement of road transport by building by-pass roads in Bals and Slatina would reduce transport time by 3 hours, while the improvement of the railroad network would save 15 hours. It is important to know that the average speed on the rail section Duisburg-Curtici is of 50 km/h on a 1,560 km distance, while the average speed on the Nadlac-Craiova section is of 13 km/h on a distance of almost 450 km.
We’ve said in September that a highway network is vital for Craiova, and as far as we know, progress has been registered and I’m fully convinced that Romania could attract more investors if infrastructure conditions would improve.
4. As Ford Romania focuses mainly on the external markets, what are the challenges in your industry for 2017 in terms of consumer and business financing, especially in the context of Brexit?
Indeed, more than 95% of our current production volumes in Craiova go to exports and UK is probably our biggest ‘client’ when it comes to B-MAX sales.
However, Ford’s strategy has always been to adjust volumes to demand and that’s not only Craiova’s case, but it’s also how we operate around the world.