|AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS
Renault inaugurates Technical Centre in Titu – September 2010
Renault Group has inaugurated yesterday in Titu, in the presence of President Traian Basescu, the only automotive test centre in Central and Eastern Europe. Renault now has in Romania all elements needed for the development of new car models, ranging from the design to the production stage. The centre is part of the Renault Technologie Roumanie (RTR) division and its goal is to test vehicles and technical subparts. Construction works started in 2008 with its inauguration taking place one year later than scheduled because of financing difficulties that appeared during the crisis. “Titu will play an important role in Renault’s overall system of engineering and will allow us to develop the Logan platform. The centre has the entire infrastructure it needs and is located close to Pitesti and Bucharest. We also count on the Romanian state to improve the road and maritime infrastructure. It’s a real pride for those working within the Renault Group to see the Dacia logo on more than 1.4 million cars sold in Europe, North Africa and the Near East from 2004 until now,” Patrick Pelata, Renault Group’s production manager, stated for Agerpres during the inauguration.
The Titu centre currently has ten types of test tracks totalling 32 kilometres, tracks that are meant to simulate extreme driving conditions such as exposure to cold, sunlight or rain. The first tests are scheduled in October. The first team of RTR engineers came to Titu in June, with the centre set to have 300 employees by the end of the year. Attending the official opening, President Traian Basescu stated that he allows Dacia to use the red colour for other Duster vehicles too and added that his greatest satisfaction is to drive a Logan in the city and a Duster when going at the mountainside. “I thank the Dacia-Renault plant for offering me the only red Duster and I openly tell you here that if there are any other demands, and I know there have been extraordinary pressures to obtain this colour in the case of other orders, I allow the Dacia plant to use this colour for whoever demands it,” Traian Basescu stated for Mediafax. He added that he is greatly satisfied with driving a Logan and a Duster. “I’ve always said that I don’t like to see SUVs in downtown Bucharest for those that haven’t noticed the centre of Bucharest has paved streets; in Bucharest I drive the Logan and every time I have the opportunity to go at the mountainside I use the Duster,” the President added.
At the same time, he stated that privatizing Dacia was one of the best decisions taken by the post-1989 governments. The Head of State added that the current centre also represents a chance for young engineers. “2,200 engineers are already working for the Renault Technical Centre in Romania. Of those, 2,000 are Romanians selected from Romanian universities, with an average age of 31. The fact that Renault has given young Romanian engineers the chance to work, to produce and to create in Romania is a thing for which I personally want to thank Renault Group and to thank it for applying a friendly philosophy in Romania,” President Basescu stated. The Head of the state is the first customer to receive a Duster. He picked up the car, bought by his wife, from the Mioveni plant back in early April. The car has the colour “fiery red” as the Dacia Plant employees call it. The colour was a gift that the plant made to the Head of State since it is not in use on Duster’s production lines.
Renault opens the Renault Design Centre for Central Europe in Romania
PM Tariceanu: once Dacia-Renault reaches an annual production of one million vehicles, Romania will be the country with the largest production when it comes to vehicle manufacturing in South-East Europe
The French Group has inaugurated in Bucharest a design centre for the Renault and Dacia brands, the sixth centre of its kind for the French producer, with the first vehicles designed in Romania set to be launched in 2011, Rompres informs.
According to Patrick le Quement, by locating the design centres in several areas of the world, the company takes over the ‘local tendencies’ when it comes to design. The French Group has announced at the end of 2006 that it will bring to Romania the entire car manufacturing process, including the research and design part. The research will take place within a centre in Titu locality, Dambovita County, the investment being estimated at EUR 450 M. The centre will include a test track for multi-brand vehicles, a car engineering department, a centre for mechanical testing and information technology, accounting and client monitoring departments. The centre will be inaugurated this autumn.
Two weeks ago, the French Group opened a car gear box plant in Mioveni, a plant for which it initially earmarked EUR 146 M. The French producer has invested more than EUR 1.2 bln in Romania from the moment it took over Dacia and up to last year, with EUR 600 M set to be added to that sum in the following three years. For that Renault has used the cheap labour force in Romania at its fullest. An even more important factor was localizing the plants as close to the sale markets as possible in order to reduce as much as possible the distribution and delivery costs.
‘The Economist’ praises Logan’s performances. Thus, in an article entitled ‘The logic of the Logan’, the British journalists comment on the surprising success that the vehicle produced by Dacia under Renault’s management has registered on Western European markets, the Money Channel informs. ‘The Economist’ also writes that the company’s profit margin for the Logan brand surpasses 6 per cent, twice larger than the rest of the vehicle brands produced by Renault.
According to Gerard Detourbet, the head of the Logan project, quoted by ‘The Economist’, the success came at a time when the buyers have started to be more indifferent to the product’s country of origin. In the European Union and northern Africa the car was listed as a Romanian Dacia sold by Renault dealers. The Renault representative points out that most of the French clients know that the model is produced in Romania but their decision to buy it takes into account its price. In France, the second-hand vehicles’ market is the most important competitor for Logan, ‘The Economist’ goes on to say.
‘Once the production parameters that Renault has set for itself, namely close to one million units per year, have been attained, we will be the country with the largest production in South-East Europe when it comes to vehicle manufacturing. Once Ford comes in we will end up being the most important producer country in Central and South-East Europe’ Tariceanu has stated Friday during the inauguration of the design centre in Bucharest, the Money Channel informs. The Prime Minister has stated that if in the case of Renault availability has existed, in the case of PSA Peugeot Citroen auto Group the answer has been ‘overall negative’.
Dacia Logan SUV, a vehicle with a very good technical system
Dacia Logan SUV will look very good and will have all of the top technical characteristics, Patrick le Quement, industrial design director within Renault, has stated recently, Rompres informs. The Dacia SUV series model will most likely be launched at the end of 2009 and will be the sixth model in the Logan series, after Logan Sedan, Logan MCV, Logan Van, Logan Pick-Up and Sandero, the latter set to be launched in Romania on June 3.
The Renault representative has stated that the technical platform on which the Logan models are developed is very flexible and offers a lot of expansion opportunities towards most of the vehicle classes demanded on the market.
In what concerns the new Sandero model, Patrick le Quement has stated that this is a hatchback model characterized by durability, but not as sophisticated as Renault Clio III, although there could be a slight ‘cannibalizing’ of sales as happened previously on emerging markets in the case of Dacia Logan and Renault Clio Symbol.
Logan pickup, the first model to be created in Romania
The first Renault prototype to be created and developed entirely in Romania, presented at the opening of the Renault Design Centre in Bucharest, is an improved Logan Pickup that reminds the Dacia Pickup with the special bodywork, Rompres informs. “Romanians are highly attached to the Pickup, and this model enjoys a great popularity all over the world, therefore it was adequate for an initial concept,” Patrick le Quement said. He mentioned that the project of the group of products that will replace the current Logan offer is already initiated. Institutions working for this project include not only the Design Centre in Bucharest, but also Technocentre Renault and the Design Centres in Brazil and Italy.
by Monica Apostol
Dacia Auto: Most Significant Growth Rate in Europe
Dacia was in 2007 the brand with the biggest rate of growth of the sales in Europe, with an advance of 85.9 per cent against 2006, as a result of the significant demand for the model Logan, according to a survey made by the British car market research company Jato Dynamics, informs ‘Business Standard.’ The survey was made in 27 European countries, which do not include Bulgaria and Romania. The number of registrations of Dacia cars increased in Western Europe by 96 per cent, to 68,815 units, from 35,101 units a year before. The market share held by Dacia in the region progressed to 0.5 per cent, from 0.2 per cent in 2006. The best sold brand at European level was Volkswagen, with 1.6 million units, followed by Opel/Vauxhall with 1.32 million units, and Ford with 1.28 million traded cars. On the following positions were Renault with 1.17 million cars traded, but 9.3 per cent less than in 2006, and Peugeot with 1.09 million units, 1.4 per cent less. Fiat, Citroen, Toyota, Mercedes and BMW rank in order in the top ten brands with the biggest success in the European market. Of the aforementioned, Fiat had the quickest advance of the sales, with 7.7 per cent, further to the launching of some new models, such as Bravo, 500, Sedici, Linea and Scudo.
Renault Design Center to Open
The opening of the Renault Design Centre at Titu and the privatisation of the Daewoo automobile factory of Craiova might turn the automotive industry into one of the most powerful engines for the development of the Romanian industry, Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu told a ceremony on March 19 where the Renault Design Centre was presented.