Romania to complete Pitesti-Sibiu highway by end-2020, PM tells car maker Ford

Romania to complete Pitesti-Sibiu highway by end-2020, PM tells car maker Ford Romanian government meeting with Ford, September 8, 2017

BUCHAREST (Romania), September 8 (SeeNews) - Romania will complete the construction of Pitesti-Sibiu highway by the end of 2020, prime minister Mihai Tudose said on Friday during a meeting with Andrew McCall, vice president of Ford Europe, the government said in a press release.

Tudose added that the road link between Pitesti and Craiova, where Ford has a manufactiring plant, is also a priority for the government.

The road links, which will offer easier access to Western markets, have been requested for several years now by Romanian car maker Dacia, a unit of France's Renault.

"Romania is a favourable environment for investment growth, and the development of the Ford plant in Craiova confirms this. More investment means more and better paid jobs," Tudose said during the meeting with Andrew McCall, according to the press release.

Tudose and McCall also discussed the implementation of Ford's investment in Craiova, including the creation of 1,700 new jobs already announced by the company.

In July, Ford said it will end production of the B-Max model at its Romanian plant in September and will hire 500 to support manufacturing of its EcoSport SUV at the same plant, set to begin in the autumn. Since the beginning of the year, Ford has hired 976 workers and 200 auxiliary staff at the plant.

Ford entered Romania in March 2008 when it completed the acquisition of a 72.4% stake in Automobile Craiova, the sole owner of car maker and distributor Daewoo Automobile Romania. In 2012, the plant in Craiova launched production of the B-Max model, which it sells only on the European market. Ford also produces EcoBoost 1.0 litre- and 1.5 litre-engines in Craiova.

In August 2016, the finance ministry and Ford convened to extend to 2025 from 2017 the deadline by which the car maker's local plant should meet the output volume target set in the privatisation contract. In exchange for extending the deadline, the government asked Ford to invest a further 130 million euro ($146.8 million) in Romania by 2019.

During 2008-2012, the carmaker received 75 million euro in state aid, which it has complemented with over 1 billion euro in investments to date.

($=0.8347 euro)

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