Dacia is one of the automotive industry's biggest success stories, and Jerome Olive is making sure the Renault subsidiary's positive momentum continues.
Olive, who joined Dacia as managing director in 2009, played a key role in the successful launch of the Duster, which went on sale in April 2010. The brand's first crossover surpassed the 70,000-unit sales plateau at the end of June.
The Duster also finished the first half of this year as France's No. 10-selling car and second-most-purchased crossover. In addition, Olive told Automotive News Europe that one of his proudest achievements at Dacia has been getting the company to increase production of the Duster to about 170,000 units a year this year from about 80,000 in 2010.
Since Olive arrived at Dacia's headquarters in Pitesti, Romania, the low-cost brand's sales have risen above the 300,000-unit threshold twice, peaking at a record high of 348,630 in 2010.
That's a massive increase from the 22,833 Dacia Logan sedans sold when Renault relaunched the brand in 2004.
Dacia benefited from government-funded car-scrapping programs offered in Europe in 2009 and 2010 to prop up vehicle sales during the global economic crisis. Customers looking to maximize the effect of the thousands of euros in incentives targeted low-cost cars such as the Logan, Sandero and Duster.
As Dacia continues to expand, it will be crucial for the automaker to have someone with manufacturing in his blood, which is something Olive offers.
He started at Renault's Sandouville, France, plant in 1982 after earning his engineering degree from ICAM in France.
In 1996, he moved to Renault's Douai, France, factory. As head of the body-in-white assembly department, he helped start production of one of Renault's most successful models, the first-generation Scenic. Olive was promoted to plant director at Douai in 2004. ■