During his three-day official visit to the U.S., Romanian Premier Dacian Ciolos paid a visit to Ford Motor Company’s advanced research centre. Ford Motor Company has invested over EUR 1 bln in order to support its operations in Romania ever since it took over the plant in Craiova. The visit at the centre located in Dearborn, near Detroit, included the review of the research centre and of the centre for autonomous vehicles, new energy storage technologies and advanced materials.
“I’m very happy for having the opportunity to meet Romanian engineers and I must admit I am very proud of them. Hopefully we’ll convince people at the Ford Company to invest not only in production (…) but also in research and development, because, as you can see, we have a lot of human resources and it is good that they are working at the very core of the company; but I’m confident that we could do things just as good in Romania too,” the Prime Minister said, talking with each and every Romanian present at the meeting, Agerpres informs.
Ciolos was guided during his visit by Stephen Biegun, vice president of International Governmental Affairs for Ford Motor Company.
Biegun asserted that premier Dacian Ciolos was an extremely constructive partner for Ford Company. During his tenure, Ford has strengthened Romania as main pillar of its production strategy in Europe, he added.
The Premier also met a group of Romanian engineers who are working at that centre of auto industry excellence. The Romanian delegation led by the Premier held talks with the company’s leadership, represented by Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields, Ford Group Vice President for International Relations Ziad Ojakli, Ford International Governmental Relations Vice President Stephen Biegun and International Relations Director Sarah Cartmell.
After his meeting with Ford CEO Mark Fields, Premier Ciolos stated that there is still potential to develop Ford’s presence in Romania and that Ford’s greatest preoccupation concerns infrastructure.
“I just left the meeting with Ford CEO Mark Fields, with whom I talked not only about what Ford has done in Romania so far but also about Ford’s plans to continue its investments in Romania. Of course, the greatest preoccupation has to do with infrastructure. Ford is not the only foreign company that somehow links the outlook of investments in development to the infrastructure issue. However, without being able to tell you more, I can say I’m leaving with a very positive feeling because, apart from what Ford has already done in Romania, Ford has announced new investments in the upcoming period and I believe there still is potential to develop Ford’s presence in Romania,” Ciolos stated, Agerpres informs.
On the other hand, the Premier announced that following a meeting with members of the business community of the state of Michigan, a delegation will arrive in Romania in the autumn “in order to find new investment opportunities.”
Premier Dacian Ciolos expressed his interest in continuing investments at the Craiova plant, in line with the new commitments confirmed at the meetings held by Romanian officials with the company’s local leadership.
“We want the Craiova plant to develop on the production lines agreed with the Romanian state, in the interest of the American producer and of the local economy. The Romanian state will offer the full support it can legally offer to consolidate this investment. I believe there are bigger opportunities and I’ve invited Ford Company to think about developing and expanding the production by including elements of innovative technology related to ecological and electrical cars which, as I’ve seen at their innovation centre, are the auto vehicles of the future,” Premier Dacian Ciolos stated.
Another topic of interest consisted of Ford Company’s support for the bid to develop an appropriate environment for the development of innovating elements and of the production of components. Likewise, Premier Ciolos invited the American company to get involved in organising vocational education, the Romanian Government working on a proper institutional framework in this domain.
Yesterday, the Premier took part in a working dinner with a series of representatives of Michigan companies interested in investing or already having assets in Romania, companies such as Walbridge, Federal Mogul, Steelcase Inc, Kimball Electronics, Delphi, Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The agenda also included a meeting with Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan.
At this moment, Ford produces in Craiova the B-MAX mini-MPV and the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, the only engine in the world that won the “International Engine of the Year” award for three years in a row.
Ford’s Craiova plant produced the Ford Transit Connect model, from 2009 to 2012. Ford B-MAX was launched in March 2012. In 2013, sales surpassed 67,000 units. March 2013 was the best month sales-wise, with the threshold of 8,000 units sold being surpassed. 47,967 Ford B-MAX units were produced in 2015, 52,829 units in 2014 and 68,339 units in 2013. Demand for this model has constantly slumped since its launch.
On March 22, 2016, Ford Europe President and CEO Jim Farley confirmed that Ford Motor Company will invest up to EUR 200 M in order to produce EcoSport mini-SUVs in Craiova starting in the autumn of 2017.
Ford Motor Company is a global automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan. With around 199,000 employees and 67 plants all over the world, its main activities include the design, manufacturing, marketing and maintenance of a full range of Ford auto vehicles, trucks, SUVs and electrical cars and Lincoln luxury auto vehicles. At the same time, Ford pursues, with great interest, development opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company seeking to become a leader in the following domains: connectivity, mobility, autonomous auto vehicles, customer care, data and analysis.
Ford Europe produces, markets and offers maintenance services for Ford vehicles on over 50 individual markets and has around 53,000 employees in its own plants and around 68,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe’s operations include the Ford Customer Care Division and 24 manufacturing plants. The first Ford auto vehicles were sold in Europe in 1903 – the year in which Ford Motor Company was founded.
Ciolos was accompanied by the Head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery Dragos Tudorache, Department for Foreign Investments state secretary Manuel Costescu, U.S. ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm, and Romanian ambassador to the U.S. George Maior.
Meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
On Tuesday evening, Romanian time, Premier Dacian Ciolos was expected to meet U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden in Washington. The meeting was an occasion for the two to discuss the huge opportunities offered by Romania in the Black Sea region, especially in what concerns investments and infrastructure development, including the production and transmission of energy. The meeting has offered the Premier the opportunity to emphasise Romania’s energy potential in what concerns the production of Black Sea natural gas. It was, at the same time, another occasion to hold consultations ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. In fact, Ciolos stated before the meeting that “Romania wants U.S.’s active support for a forward Allied presence on the eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea,” and that he would continue to discuss the proposals with the American side in view of the upcoming summit.
The Premier also talked about the advantages that Romania could stand to benefit from as a result of his visit to the U.S., expressing his hope that economic relations will reach the level of bilateral political-military relations.
The meeting between Ciolos and Biden was preceded by talks with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the Romanian Government’s press office informs.