Walking through the assembly plant at Dacia’s sprawling factory complex in Mioveni, 80 miles north-west of Bucharest, Cristian Negoita talks proudly of the factory’s output.
“We make about 65 cars an hour, 1,389 a day,” says the 25-year company veteran and deputy chief of the assembly plant. “Before we joined Renault we were making 110,000 cars a year here with 30,000 workers, today it’s 340,000 cars, with 14,000 workers.”
Nearby, new cars roll off the assembly line, destined for showrooms across Europe. In recent years, as other car manufacturers have lost billions of euros in sales in the aftermath of the global recession, Romania’s Dacia has seen sales soar.
The former communist state-owned company, bought by Renault in 1999, is Europe’s fastest-growing car brand, with sales on the continent rising 35% in the first six months of this year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, fuelled by a high demand for cheap but reliable cars.