Our production capacity will increase to 406,000 vehicles annually

By Nicoleta Banila

Automobile Dacia, a unit of France’s Renault, leads the SEE TOP 100 ranking for a fifth year running. In 2018, its revenue rose by 6.54% to 5.35 billion euro.

Christophe Dridi, Managing Director of Automobile Dacia and Groupe Renault Romania

What are the key factors that have helped Dacia remain the top company in Southeastern Europe (SEE) in terms of total revenue over the past five years?

The automotive industry is very important for Romania, it represents 14% of the GDP and 26% of the exports. It is a big part of the Romanian economy, a treasure.

Groupe Renault Romania employs more than 18,800 colleagues and integrates all the activities specific for a car manufacturer – market studies, design, engineering, technical center, manufacturing and supply chain, sales and aftersales, business services and financing – and our teams is at the heart of our company, our most important value.

The Global Access range, which includes Dacia models manufactured in Mioveni, is a worldwide success. We offer attractive quality cars at the best price, thanks to a unique business model – “smart buy”. Dacia has conquered customers from 44 countries and will continue its development and community engagement.

We operate in a competitive industry which evolves extremely rapidly. This context and these challenges motivate us to prepare every day our future. What are your expectations about Dacia’s net profit and turnover in 2019 and what do you base them on?

We have the willingness to keep our competitiveness for all Groupe Renault Romania activities, underlining long term competitiveness.

Can you please elaborate on your short- and mediumterm investment plans in Romania?

Has Dacia started the production capacity expansion project announced at the end of 2018, which is to be supported by 115.8 million lei in state aid? Since 2000, the investment made by Groupe Renault Romania amounts to 3 billion euro. This includes new products development – cars, engines, gearboxes, etc., as well as manufacturing process optimisation – working conditions, automation, quality, cost reduction and integration of new technologies.
In order to satisfy our customers, our production capacity will increase from 350,000 vehicles per year to 406,000 units. It is very important for us to remain the gravity centre of Dacia cars.

Is Dacia considering to introduce a hybrid SUV as a step toward lowering the average emission levels of its vehicles and in order to help Renault meet the European Union’s toughening antipollution standards?

The question is not about if we will have an electric or hybrid Dacia or not, the question is when. We already have the technology because we are part of the Alliance. Our future projects will have the capability to add this technology, but we will launch it when the market is ready. Infrastructure is also an important factor, as well as regulation.

Do you plan to launch new models of the Dacia brand in the next couple of years? Can you please elaborate?

It is too early to give details but be sure that we will continue to surprise our customers with attractive and quality cars at the best price, “the smart buy”.

What are your expectations about the overall development of the car market in SEE in the next few years? What about Dacia’s performance in SEE and on a global scale?

The Romanian automotive industry has four main priorities: infrastructure, used cars, local integration and education.

In terms of infrastructure, roads and especially Pitesti-Sibiu highway and access to the West are very important for the development of the Romanian economy but we have also to develop rail roads and maritime infrastructure.

Regarding used cars, it is our duty to fight against the invasion of used cars coming with a high level of pollution, a low level of safety and providing no income for the country.

In order to have a competitive automotive industry, it is essential to have suppliers nearby to develop synchronisation and transversal skills.

In education, we are supporting traditional technologies such as stamping, welding, and toolmakers, as well as the new ones – software, automatisation, digitalisation, electric and connectivity.