By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
TRW Automotive and Lear Corp will this month open two factories in Roman and Iasi, eastern Romania, which will employ about 2000 people in the beginning, signaling the growth of a market which has already attracted big names in the automotive industry.
TRW Automotive will open an airbag plant in Roman, the sixth it currently has in Romania. About 400 people will initially be hired with the number expected to reach 1,000 in three years. The plant will sew airbags both using manual and semi-automatic and automatic machines.
“By 2018, we expect a supplementary demand for 12 million airbags. The new unit will support our airbag factories in Europe” said Frank Mueller, vice-president of the company. TRW opened its first factory in Romania in 2004, in Timisoara, western Romania, and currently operates four others employing more than 3,000 people in Baia Mare, Oravita, Lupeni, Resita and Deta. For the new factory to be opened in Roman, TRW started recruiting as early as mid 2013.
The factory in Timisoara is the largest so far and has about 1,700 employees, manufacturing steering wheels and airbags for big auto makers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, Fiat and Renault.
Globally, TRW employs around 65,000 people and has annual sales of more than 16 billion USD.
Along TWR, another American company, Lear Corp, will open a new plant in Iasi, the largest city in eastern Romania, where about 1,500 people will work. The new factory will be the fourth the company currently operates in Romania and will produce auto seats.
Romania has become an attractive market for the automotive industry after large companies such as Ford and Renault bought local car makers’ factories and turned them into modern car making plants. Bosch, Delphi, Continental, Takata are just a few of the foreign automotive companies that opened factories in Romania.