CRAIOVA, Romania -- Ford Motor Co. launched production of its new model Transit Connect in Romania on Tuesday, two years after it took over a state auto maker in the country.The Transit Connect, a compact van, will sell for euro14,000 to euro15,600 ($20,000 to $22,000) in Romania and the United States.
Ford of Europe President John Fleming and U.S. Ambassador Mark H. Gitenstein attended the launch in the southern city of Craiova, as did Romanian President Traian Basescu, and Senate chairman Mircea Geoana.In a speech, Basescu said the factory is now "part of the glorious history of Ford.""I want to thank the workers... With your hands and minds you have been reorganizing the workshop... You have been loyal partners of the investors from the very beginning." He later inspected with Fleming a white Transit Connect which was parked on a podium.
He said some euro12 million ($17.2 million) had been invested in training the work force.Ford plans to build 300,000 automobiles in Romania in the next four years, and said it will hire an extra 3,000 staff throughout the country. It currently employs about 4,000 people.In 2007, Ford bought a 72.4 percent stake in the state-owned Automobile Craiova, paying $88 million and vowing to invest $1 billion to upgrade and expand car production.