Mihai Bordeanu, the Managing Director of the Dacia brand and CEO of Automobile Dacia, tells Business Review why the automotive market is a driving force for the local economy and how the company’s first fully electric car will impact both the local and the European markets.
By Anda Sebesi
The automotive market is a star sector in Romania and a major driver of economic growth. How has Dacia contributed to this growth in recent years?
The automotive industry is very important for Romania, as it represents 14 percent of GDP and 26 percent of exports. It is a big part of the Romanian economy. Since 2000, Groupe Renault has invested over EUR 3 billion in Romania for the development of new products such as cars, engines, and gearboxes, as well as in improvements to the manufacturing process. The carmaker has improved working conditions and quality, boosted automation, optimised costs, and integrated new technologies at the Mioveni plant in Arges county. We operate inside a competitive industry which evolves extremely rapidly. The challenges generated by the health crisis have motivated us to constantly prepare for the future by adapting to the new normal and being agile. Romanian authorities have responded well and have helped the car industry through concrete measures: the car fleet renewal programmes (“Rabla” and “Rabla Plus”), financial aid for technical unemployment, kurzarbeit options, and state aid for companies. Dacia cars are not only made in Romania; they are very well made in Romania.
In late March, Dacia opened online pre-orders for the Comfort Plus version of its first electric car, the Dacia Spring. What does this launch mean for the Romanian market?
Indeed, Dacia Spring pre-orders opened online on March 20, the first official day of spring. There were more than 4,000 pre-orders recorded just in the first two days. And we are talking about people who haven’t even seen the car in showrooms yet. There is a very simple explanation for that: with Spring, Dacia is offering an electric urban vehicle that meets customers’ real needs at an unbeatable price. This is true not just for Romania, but for all the markets where the model will be sold. Dacia Spring will be the most affordable electric vehicle in Europe. We can therefore say that Dacia is democratising electric mobility, making it accessible for all. It is more than a change; it is a real revolution, the third one in the history of the brand, after the launch of the Logan model in 2004 and the Duster in 2010.
How will this launch change customers’ perception of the Dacia brand, in Romania and abroad?
Dacia has already evolved enormously since the launch of the first-generation Logan 16 years ago. From initially being perceived as a low-cost brand, Dacia has come to illustrate the concept of a “smart purchase.” The philosophy of the brand is to offer simple, spacious, reliable, and robust vehicles with no unnecessary frills, at the best prices on the market. Dacia Spring therefore embodies the brand’s DNA. It is a car that combines simplicity, reliability, and affordability. But that’s not all – with Spring, Dacia proves that an electric vehicle is not necessarily a niche product. The advertising campaign created for the launch illustrates yet another side of our philosophy: the fact that a Dacia car can be both essential and fun.
How has Dacia adapted to the pandemic?
From the beginning of the crisis, our priority has been the safety and the health of all our employees, together with preserving jobs. Besides the industrial site, where activity was suspended during the state of emergency last year, all our other activities carried on uninterrupted, and teleworking was encouraged. We were among the first industrialists in the country to resume operations after the lockdown by taking the necessary measures.