According to current data, the global market of automotive parts will increase from Euro 406 billion in 2010 to Euro 664 billion in 2025. Romania has more than 600 companies involved in the automotive industry, with 203,600 employees. The cost of labour in the local manufacturing industry is Euro 4.9/hour. 158 international suppliers of auto parts own production facilities in our country, with some of them also involved in research and development.
The current relative competitive advantages of the labour and utilities costs will gradually dwindle in the future, so that new investments and capacity developments will be aimed at new products competitive global technologies with high added value. The evolution of the Romanian automotive component industry is obviously influenced by the inter- national auto industry trends.
Globally, innovation-based manufacturers of auto parts are considered more lucrative than companies specializing on limited number of technologies. This is because component innovation allows the multiple use thereof for assemblies. Moreover, innovation allows the streamlining of manufacturing and adaptation to new market requirements, as well as control over the upstream value adding chains and hence on costs.
On the medium term, the international automotive industry which bears on the local parts manufacturing will prioritize the following:
- Focus on environment and safety;
- Optimum positioning on the future integrated mobility matrix;
- Overhaul of model ranges according to new demand data;
- Strengthening of CDI for competitiveness on global markets;
- Focusing of major investments on new products and technologies;
- Sharing of risks through alliances and brand reinforcement;
- Partnerships for product design and cost minimization over the supply chain, stepping up of outsourcing;
- Auto industry-wide implementation of new concepts such as numerical plant”, “Smart automation”, “Industry 4.0”;
- New business solutions and new sources of profits.
Technological developments in the Romanian automotive industry
The Romanian automotive industry is more than assembling cars. Despite increases of investments in auto parts industry, they are still far from reaching full potential. New investments have emerged lately, such as:
- The manufacturing of cutting edge energy-efficient engines at Dacia and Ford Craiova;
- Manufacturing of cutting edge gearboxes for large international manufacturers: Daimler-at Star Transmission Sebe[/Cugir and the Renault Nissan alliance at Dacia;
- Advanced microelectronics and mechatronics (including CD activities): Continental, Bosch, Infineon, Delphi, Dräxlmaier, Kendrion;
- Complex technologies and auto parts of plastics, rubber and composite materials: many new companies in Banat, Transylvania, Arge[;
- Expansion of robotics: Dacia starts a program to extend automation from 5% to 20% by 2020;
- Emergence of new local companies specializing in the “digitalization” of the automotive industry: Magic Engineering, Caelynx/Dassault, ADA Computers/Siemens, AS Systems, INAS, etc.
According to the Romanian Automotive Manufacturers of Romania (ACAROM), the evolution of Romanian automotive industry will also be directly influenced by the development lines of the two large automotive manufacturers - Dacia and Ford, by the introduction of new concepts and manufacturing technologies, the ever growing interest for research and development (CDI), and the access of auto manufacturers to funding.
Thus, the two manufacturers of Romania will consider the following:
- Maintaining the current production pace;
- Integration of new Renault complex assemblies into the Dacia manufacturing lines;
- Increase of local integration;
- Increase of automation for the “key” processes.
- Manufacturing of a second Ford model in Craiova;
- Reaching the designed production pace and achieving local integration;
- A research-development-innovation centre in Craiova.
It is most likely that other large automotive manufacturers will invest in Romania as well. Moreover, new, large global suppliers will choose to manufacture their products in our country. Another trend could be that of new manufacturing capacities for electric cars and the battery packs thereof.
As regards the digitalization of the automotive industry, this will be felt in the design of products, optimization of technologies, logistics, lean manufacturing.
Furthermore, we will see the emergence of “co-innovation” on components for supply chains. New research and development activities will appear in the automotive industry. Cooperation between the public R&D and industry will be improved. A real support for applied R7D is expected from the government.
As regards parts manufacturers, the local links of the supplier chain will be multiplied, and their innovation force will increase. Easier access to loans by auto suppliers is expected.
More domestic capital will be invested in SMEs and the cooperation for innovation will increase between SMEs and technical universities. Better access to European funds for competitiveness is expected.
The automotive parts sector: current investment trends
New investments are mainly targeted at the Sibiu-Brasov-Cluj, Timi[-Arad, Arges-Olt regions, but new investments have recently been implemented in the east of the country.
As we already pointed out above, Dacia decided to initiate a wide-ranging program for manufacturing automation until 2020.
Continental, Bosch, Delphi, Schaeffler, Yazaki, Hella transfer their own R&D activities in Romania, while other companies invest in such capabilities. Renault Technologie Roumanie was a pioneer in this field.
Domestic suppliers, such as GIC, Ronera, Elba, COMPA, ELJ, Componente Auto, Metaplast, Delta Invest, etc. began investing in product innovation and technological upgrades.
Most of the investments or capacity building activities were subject to state aid. After 2009, state aid in amount of Euro 182 million was approved for 18 large automotive projects worth Euro 350 million. The new 2014-2020 state aid scheme has been approved by the Government.
Domestically-owned companies invested in expansion with state aid, by SOP IEC or ROP/ADRs. Bank loan levels remain low.
The total amount of investments in the automotive parts business is higher than in other Central and Eastern European countries (e.g.: Euro 951 million in 2012), but not enough to fully tap into the development potential of this sector.
This article has been drawn based on data provided by Mr. Constantin STROE, President of the Romanian Automotive Manufacturers of Romania (ACAROM) at the Transportation & Mobility Solutions Experience Forum event, organized by Dassault Systèmes at the end of last year.
The Association of Automotive Manufacturers of Romania - ACAROM is a professional body of companies involved in the automotive industry, associated in order to represent the interests of the automotive sector. ACAROM, a non-profit organization, has 144 members and was set up in 1996 pursuant to Law 21/1924. Currently, ACAROM operates pursuant to Law 356/2001 and Emergency Ordinance 26/2000. ACAROM is a member of the CL of ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. What the member companies have in common is that they design, manufacture and sell motor vehicles, materials, parts, modules, vehicle parts or provide related services and equipment for the manufacturing and maintenance of motor vehicles. The ACAROM President is Dr. Eng. Constantin STROE.