Ford not to employ people for Craiova-based plant until 2010

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John Fleming, president of Ford Europe, a company that bought Automobile Craiova (southern Romania) said in an interview for daily Ziarul Financiar that the first employment wave in Craiova production facility will start in 2010, as the incumbent staff covers the production need for the time being.
Fleming deems that at present the number of employees is sufficient for the start of production at utility vehicle Transit Connect in 2009 and jobs will be created in 2010 at the start of production at the future small-class model.
 
As many as 3,900 people are working at present in Craiova, the Ford's plans entailing the employment of some 7,000-9,000 people at the production of the small-class car. Automobile Craiova has started training programmes, most within the plant and some of them in Germany, at Ford plants in Koln.
 
The production of Transit Connect in Craiova will be of 30,000 units next year and is expected to reach 50-60,000 units in 2010. In 2012, as many as 300,000 units will be produced in the Craiova-based plant, of which 90% destined for export. Last year, about 19,000 cars were assembled in Craiova. At present, the plant can produce at full throttle about 150,000 cars a year.
 
Fleming told daily Ziarul Financiar the acquisition of the plant in Craiova was made with a view to increasing the production capacity and not for the relocation of the already existing production of Western Europe. The utility car assembled in Craiova will be designed for the European market, whereas the cars built in the Otosan-based plant in Turkey will be used to cover the demand from the North-American market, where Transit Connect will be released next summer.
Ingvar Sviggum, vice-president of Ford Europe, told the aforementioned publication that the company's sales on the Romanian market will outstrip 28,000 units this year, with chances of reaching even 30,000.
 
Romcar, importer of Ford on the local market reported in the first seven months of the year, sales of 14,555 units, a value due to a market share of some 7%, placing the American group on the third place in the ranking of imported brands. The sellers' estimate for the same period was of over 35%.
"We would be disappointed if Ford did not reach a market share similar to the one in Europe of 8.6%, after we start the production of the small class car," said Fleming, who hasn't set any sales objective for Romania in 2010 yet.
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