"For 2008, I will maintain the same cautious outlook and forecast market growth of around 5-7% year-on-year. Dacia sales will advance by 5% from the level of 2007, while imports will rise by as much as 15%," stated the deputy chairman of Automobile Dacia, the main carmaker in South-Eastern Europe, who is also the chairman of the Association of Carmakers in Romania (ACAROM).
Stroe's forecast is in line with the estimates of the current deputy chairman of the Association of Automotive Manufacturers and Importers (APIA), Brent Valmar, who expects car sales to rise by around 10% in 2008.
Imports of used cars, as well as market saturation, will be the main factors slowing down market growth.
"There will be 3 factors slowing down growth. No market in the world is growing for so many years in a row. The domestic car market has been following an upward trend since 2000. The second reason is car fleet renewal: people affording a new car have already bought one. The third factor is represented by imports of used cars. Their market expanded by 15% in 2007 from 2006 as there was a tax in place meant to curb their growth last year," Stroe explained.
According to him, Dacia plans to maintain a market share of around 30%, with the pick-up version of Logan and a new 5-door model built on the same platform, to be added to the model range.
This year, Automobile Dacia will hire 3,000 people at its assembly plant and 600 university graduates in its administrative departments in order to hit its production target of 400,000 cars in 2009.