By Nicoleta Banila
Mihai Bordeanu took over as managing director for the Dacia brand in Southeast Europe on January 1 and as country head for Romania on February 1. Bordeanu has 22 years of experience in marketing, trade and business in automotive companies and FMCG. In 2006, he joined the Toyota team in Romania, where he held the roles of marketing director, commercial director and director of the Lexus brand for the Balkans division. In 2010 he took over the position of marketing director at Renault Commercial Roumanie for the Dacia and Renault brands. In 2014 he was appointed marketing director of Groupe Renault for the markets of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, and since 2016, marketing director for the Eurasia region. In September 2019 he was appointed vice president marketing Dacia.
How did the Covid-19 crisis, the global disruptions in semiconductor supplies in particular, impact Dacia’s operations?
The timely launch, at the end of 2020, of the new Logan models Sandero and Sandero Stepway was the result of an exemplary mobilisation of our teams in a fragile context due to the health crisis. The pandemic prompted us to fundamentally change our behavior. It made us more adaptable, more agile, through the efficient application of digitalisation and telework. Our topmost priority continues to be the health of our colleagues.
In Romania, Dacia maintains its leading market position, dominating the sales ranking despite the difficult economic context. However, the components shortage that affected the global car industry did not bypass Dacia. Since the first quarter of this year, when it hit the industry, we have been coordinating our response at group level within crisis units with the procurement and logistics teams in order to adapt and meet customer demand. The crisis is still not over, it is still affecting us. In July, production at our Romanian vehicle plant was interrupted for three days.
Following the Dacia Spring launch, what is the next big thing in your pipeline? Do you plan to release new, possibly electric, models?
We just launched a new model in the Dacia range, Jogger, at the Munich Motor Show. It is a seven-seat family car which was reinvented, a station wagon with a SUV look, which will also have a hybrid version in 2023, the first one in the history of the brand. It was part of the renewal of the range to which we will add two more new models by 2025.
With Spring we are making a new revolution in automotive history, like what the iconic Logan model meant for Dacia 17 years ago. Few had anticipated the success, but orders exploded, and it was a very good start for Spring. This fall we will start deliveries to individuals. Spring is especially good for the environment as it has zero emissions.
What are your short and medium-term investment plans in Romania? Do you plan to start production of other models at the plant in Mioveni?
Investments are always associated with new products. The last two years have brought diversity to the brand with the new Logan, Sandero and Stepway models, and more recently, the new Duster and Jogger models. We want to keep up this pace, while staying competitive. It is essential that we continue in this line of competitiveness when talking about new products and projects.
The last few years in our industry were strongly marked by changes and transformations, and the year 2020 was a great challenge. However, we managed to meet our customers’ expectations and launch new models on time.
Investments made by Renault Group in Romania since 2000 amount to approximately 3.5 billion euro. We are talking about investments in our new products and in the capacity of production lines for vehicles, engines, gearboxes, etc., as well as the optimisation of the production process social conditions, automation, quality, emissions cuts and the integration of new technologies.
What are your expectations in terms of domestic production, net profit and turnover for 2021 and what do you base your expectations on?
Estimates of sales and other financial indicators depend on many variable elements. What I can say is that we want to keep a dynamic course of activities and focus on long-term competitiveness, even if it is a complicated period we are all going through, due to the health crisis and the semiconductors situation.
What are your forecasts regarding the overall development of the car market in Southeastern Europe in the next few years and how do you see Dacia’s performance in the region in terms of sales?
I think there is still need for caution in terms of the prospects. At European level, we have markets in recovery. In July, Sandero was the best-selling model in EU markets. There are fluctuations from one month to the other. With the health crisis, which has not ended, consumer behavior has changed.
At the same time, the acceleration of the transition to the green economy and the objectives of reducing the carbon footprint lead to new business models, even more adapted to customers. Car-sharing services have gained popularity, they have become more accessible, but we Romanians, like a large part of European citizens, still want to drive our own car.
The car industry generates 14% of Romania’s GDP and 27% of the country’s exports, making it an essential pillar of the Romanian economy. It is necessary to take care of this industry. Infrastructure is essential – road, sea and river transport, energy, charging stations for electric vehicles, not just for the two car manufacturers present in the country and the entire network of car suppliers that generate over 230,000 jobs, but also for Romanians. We have good signals and we appreciate the steps initiated by the authorities. At the level of the entire national industry, we are in a constructive dialogue for our priorities: infrastructure, environment protection, local integration, i.e. attracting new investors, close to our business, and dual, vocational and technical education.