Daimler eyes Romania

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – German car and truck maker Daimler is in talks with the Romanian government to open a production facility in the new European Union member state, a local government official said yesterday. Local media in Romania reported this week that Daimler may be interested in opening a facility in the northwestern county of Cluj, where Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia is building a new production plant. «There are discussions held at the top level between Daimler representatives and the Romanian prime minister about setting up a car producing unit in Romania,» an official from the county of Cluj told Reuters. «They also have Poland as another option but nothing has been decided yet,» he said. Nokia’s plant in the small village of Jucu, about 20 kilometers northeast of Cluj, is to replace a manufacturing facility in the German town of Bochum in North Rhine-Westphalia and plans for its opening sparked rage over job losses in Germany. In Romania, Nokia’s decision has calmed fears that foreign investment may dry up in the relatively poor country as wage growth erodes competitiveness. «Given media reports, it is possible for Mercedes to appear here (in Cluj) after Nokia. We need to take advantage of the region’s vast potential,» said Emil Boc, mayor of Cluj and head of a major opposition party in Romania. Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz premium cars, has a market value of 53 billion euros, according to Reuters data, and production in 17 countries, according to the group’s website.