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July 3, 2019

Ford chief criticises Romanian infrastructure (or lack thereof)

Romania's infrastructure shortcomings have again been highlighted by an automaker.

By Olly Wehring

Romania’s infrastructure shortcomings have again been highlighted by an automaker.

Ford Romania CEO Ian Pearson, currently supervising this year’s launch of the Puma, described locally as “the most high-tech car ever produced in Romania” and the second SUV produced by at the former Daewoo factory in Craiova, told local media he was disappointed about the slow pace of work on the Pitesti-Craiova expressway.

Pearson particularly was concerned about slow progress on a ring road for the town of Bals, according to romania-insider.com citing News.ro.

Pearson criticised slow cross-town journeys and implied the ring road was a must for smooth transport between Craiova and Pitesti – linked to both Constanta Black Sea port by motorways and, possibly one day, to the western border by motorways as well.

Local protests have included an entrepreneur symbolically building a metre of his own motorway to highlight government inactivity

The planned expressway between Craiova and Pitesti would have four lanes and bypass Bals and Slatina.

In December 2018, contracts for the construction of 57km of the 121km Craiova-Pitesti expressway were signed for about EUR385m, according to the local reports.

In May 2016, romania-insider.com reported, citing Ziarul Financiar, Romania’s Sebes was not a serious candidate for Daimler’s then-planned new engine factory due to the poor infrastructure.

Daimler subsequently said it would spend around EUR500m (US$575m) on a new engine factory in Poland, creating several hundred new jobs. This first Mercedes-Benz Cars plant in Poland would be in Jawor, around 70km west of Wroclaw, and would produce four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines for passenger cars.

Daimler also considered Sebes as a possible location, according to Romanian media at the time.

The automaker already had a gearbox factory there, where it launched production of new 9G-Tronic transmissions earlier in 2016, after a EUR300m spend.

“Daimler wanted the products to reach the gate of their Bremen plant in 17 hours. That’s why Sebes wasn’t a serious candidate for the engine factory, due to the logistic chains the producer imposed,” a minister said at a conference on the Romanian auto industry.

Such an investment in the engine plant would have been one of the biggest ever in Romania.

The factory would have generated over EUR1bn in exports, according to a local financial paper.

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