The Bucharest International Auto Show was held in Romania’s capital city after an absence of 11 years
Visitors had the opportunity to admire 20 car brands, over 150 different car models as well as 2 and 3-wheel vehicles. Given the fact that the future belongs to sustainable mobility, the fully electric, the hybrid and hydrogen-fuelled cars equipped with less pollutant state-of-the-art technology took pride of place at the fair.
George Grigorescu, President of the Romanian Automotive Manufacturers and Importers Association – APIA, the event’s organiser, tells us if the Bucharest International Auto Show helps the auto market survive at a vulnerable and unstable economic time.
George Grigorescu: “It is a re-launch of the interest in becoming more open to the customers with the direct involvement of the manufacturer, a defining element that makes the Bucharest International Auto Show so different from other bigger or smaller car shows held in the previous years. It is a unique event. And the fact that carmakers are here means that they believe in the Romanian market and, at the same time, it’s the dynamics of this market that makes their participation possible.”
The US President Donald Trump announced his plans to impose some taxes on aluminium and steel imports. George Grigorescu tells us if this decision can impact the Romanian car parts industry.
George Grigorescu: “The Romanian car parts consisting in products resulted from the horizontal automotive industry in Romania, are mainly aimed for European production so they do not end up on the American market. (…) We have a lot of horizontal auto industry in regions like Brasov, Sibiu and Timisoara that serves first of all the European industry. I do not know how much of this production reaches the American market. Trump’s policy can impact the dynamics of the European-American trade, but I don’t think the Romanian car industry can be affected.”
Eco-friendly cars have become more and more popular worldwide, with Norway being the European country with most electric cars. The sales of hybrid and electric cars have totaled 3.8 million units across the world, with the cars running on gasoline being the most popular, over 62 million units, followed by Diesel cars, with around 14 million units. We shall not overlook local producer Dacia, which in 2017 sold over 655,000 vehicles, 12.2% more than in the previous year. George Grigorescu, the head of the Automotive Manufacturers and Importers Association – APIA, tells us how the green car market is regarded in Romania.
George Grigorescu: “I think it is regarded with a lot of interest also due to the bonuses offered by the authorities under the car scrappage programme. We are one of the European countries with a very good programme in this respect, given the bonus granted upon the purchase of a fully electric or hybrid car. The problem here is the reticence of potential buyers. (…) Surely, in 2018, the sales of electric and hybrid cars will be bigger than last year. The buyer’s reticence however emerges from the problems with the infrastructure, with the refuelling stations. I have recently discussed with a representative of the Environment Fund Administration, Mr. Brezuica, who has a very interesting investment programme regarding the equipping of Romania’s main roads with electric vehicle charging stations. This will be quite an encouraging move, but I’m very worried about the lack of prospects when it comes to charging the cars at home. If we look at the difficulties, the costs and bureaucracy around it, it seems we stand no chance.”
As for the profile of the Romanian driver, George Grigorescu, who is also a defensive driver trainer, says:
George Grigorescu: “All my colleagues teaching defensive driving teach people, before anything else, how to drive correctly. Unfortunately, reality is that a big part of drivers are bad drivers and are also mean. This is an explosive Romanian cocktail that generates 2000 victims on the country’s roads. (…) The excessive trust in the car’s technical performance makes drivers behave in a careless manner and also makes them overestimate their ability to control the car in a critical situation, hence the big number of deadly accidents.”