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General Motors considers Romania for plant

General Motors could shortly begin investments in order to develop a production centre in Romania, with Cluj as a potential location for the future plant, close to the Nokia Village according to Ziarul Financiar.

General Motors, the largest American carmaker follows in the footsteps of Ford and Renault, with planned investments estimated at €500 million ($678 million) for the Romanian-based production of models from the Opel range of vehicles. The main factors behind GM's investments, as well as those of Ford and Renault, were the investments conducted by their main suppliers, which began operations in Romania a decade ago.

Other factors that prompted the American producers to become involved in Eastern Europe, and in particular Romania, are the positive economic growth rate, a growth in demand from car markets in the region, and the level of security because of the presence of American military bases in Constanta county. “The decision will be made extremely quickly, i.e. between October and November. GM has visited several locations on the Romanian market, but if they choose Romania, the plant will be built in Cluj,” sources from the car industry told Mediafax.

During the process to decide on the future location for the new automotive plant in Central and Eastern Europe, GM also evaluated industrial sites in Poland and Bulgaria. In Romania, the most likely location was decided on after an area of land was evaluated in Brasov county, in the Tetrarom III industrial park in Cluj, where Nokia, the Finnish producer of telecommunications equipment, will build a GSM terminals plant. GM representatives have not yet confirmed the decision to place a future Romanian-based GM plant on a 100-hectare site near the Nokia Village.

Sources say a decision could be made within the next two months. “The main objective of the recent visit by GM officials to Romania was to consolidate its relations with several domestic suppliers and negotiate new contracts in order to be able to sustain the doubling in the production capacities in Russia and Poland,” Julie Hamp, communications manager of GM Europe, told ZF. Representatives of ARIS (The Romanian Agency for Foreign Investments) were not able to confirm the American carmaker's intention to build an Opel plant in Cluj, either. (