The birthplace of the ARO company is the Romanian town of Campulung, when in 1957 the first assembly of the IMS 57 model began at the ARO S.A. plant. ARO stands for Automobil Romanesk - simply - "Romanian cars". And even before that, in 1953, the production of motorcycles was established there. The company is not very export oriented, mainly serving the domestic market.
And even if the model range of ARO cars is not too large, even if they do not differ in special manufacturability and modern design, Romanian SUVs successfully travel on Russian off-road, and on American highways, and on the deserts of Africa. Moreover, many start-up car companies choose ARO products as a base for their cars due to their simplicity and low cost.
In 1953, at Interprinderea mechanica Muscel, the Muschel machine-building enterprise, they began to produce Romanian motorcycles, and in 1957, under a license from GAZ, they began assembling the first IMS-57 cars (an analogue of the famous GAZ-69). Gasoline engine with a volume of 3.2 liters and a capacity of 50 liters. from. allowed to reach speeds of 80 km / h, however, while absorbing 24 liters of fuel per 100 km. Outwardly, the car was no different from its prototype - the same metal body with two doors, the hood tapering forward, the same wide front fenders, protruding headlights and a canvas top.
The M-59 model launched into production two years later was the result of the modernization of the base car. The engine power was increased to 56 hp. with., and the speed - up to 90 km / h. Manual windshield wipers were replaced with electric ones, the bodies became not only two, but also four-door, they were assembled and painted directly at the factory. And finally, the peak of the production of this model line was M-461, with which in 1965 the plant first entered the international market. The car was equipped with a four-cylinder in-line engine with a power of 70 hp, which allowed it to reach speeds of up to 100 km / h, and fuel consumption was reduced to 17 liters per 100 km.
For sixteen years (before the model was discontinued in 1980), 80 thousand M-461 vehicles were produced, of which more than half were exported to 55 countries. Before that, all cars were assembled only for the domestic market.
The turning point for the plant was 1972, when the company received the same name with which it still exists (Automobil Romanest), and when the car of the new series was released - ARO 240. Unlike its predecessors, the car had a completely closed body, an engine of 2 , 5 liters and a capacity of 83 liters. sec., which allowed speeds up to 115-120 km / h. At the same time, fuel consumption reached only 14 liters per 100 km. The car became the first example of the ARO 24 line, the concept and design of which was fully developed by Romanian specialists. For her, two types of body were designed - with two and four doors, extended by short and long wheelbase versions in 1989, as well as models with a removable hard or fabric top. The range of engines has also expanded through the use of foreign-made units (Ford, Renault, Daewoo, Toyota). Moreover, the cars were produced in both all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive versions.
In 1980, the company's model range was expanded with the new ARO 10 series, whose representatives were positioned as small off-road vehicles. The engine of another Romanian manufacturer, Dacia, with a volume of 1.3 liters was installed on its own chassis. The body was also developed by Romanian designers, and in appearance it did not differ much from its predecessor, except perhaps in smaller dimensions.
Due to their availability and ease of maintenance, modifications of the car turned out to be very popular abroad, including in Western Europe, and therefore about 90% of the cars produced were sent for export. For export copies, VW and Pegaso engines were installed.
In the eighties, ARO, in collaboration with Tractorul Brasov, began to produce diesel engines L – 27 and L – 30. These were the first ARO engines of its own, since until then it was completely dispensed with with Dacia and other manufacturers. In 1999, ARO independently developed the 2.6L, 64hp TDX turbo diesel engine. from.
In 1997, it was decided to carry out the next update of the line without expanding the model range. This is how the open modification of the ARO 10 appeared, called the Spartana. It had improved design and Renault Twingo and Dacia engines. The car was intended for people who prefer an active lifestyle, it was inexpensive and easy to maintain. Finally, they recently created a modification in which the developers combined the design concept of the ARO 10 with the chassis of the ARO 24. The resulting car was named the ARO Super, although its chances of success seem rather dubious.
In general, ARO's position in the automotive industry is very indicative. In fact, during assembly at the plant, they use rear and all-wheel drive chassis of our own design, engines, transmissions and body parts. The rest of the units, including the most modern technological devices for increasing comfort and active safety, ARO successfully borrows from other manufacturers. As a matter of fact, there is nothing surprising here. Most auto companies do the same, preferring not to invest in creating what others do better. This approach allows ARO not only to easily launch production in other countries, but also to sell its own units to various companies. For example, this option was used by the Circassian company Derways, which produced the "Cowboy" SUV. There are also practically no original developments, with the exception of the plastic body design. The chassis and suspension were purchased from ARO, and the interior parts were purchased from VAZ. According to some reviews, despite a number of shortcomings, the car turned out to be pretty decent.
Today in the ARO model range there are two lines - 24th and 10th, which combine about 40 models for every taste. So, here are two- and four-door station wagon and pickup bodies, as well as two-door bodies with removable roofs or open bodies. For the ARO 24 series, they take mainly diesel engines ARO TDX (2.6 L), Andoria 4 (2.4 L), Toyota 2L-T (2.4 L) and petrol Toyota 2RZ FE (2.4 L), which allows SUV to reach speeds of up to 150 km / h. The ARO 10 series is equipped with gasoline carburetor engines Dacia 102 (1.4 L), Dacia 106 (1.5 L), injection Daewoo DOHC (1.6 L) and diesel Renault F8Q A6 (1.9 L). Mechanical transmissions are also used: 4 + 1 (5 + 1) ARO or 5 + 1 Toyota for the 24th series and 4 + 1 (5 + 1) Dacia or 5 + 1 Renault for the 10th series. Cars are assembled not only in Romania, but also at partner factories in Poland, Namibia, Argentina, Portugal (under the Portaro brand) and Spain (under the Hisparo brand), not counting many companies around the world that use chassis and units in the production of their cars ARO.
True, there have been rumors lately about serious financial difficulties of the company, which resulted from the change of management after the recent drop in production. This may well be the reason for the acquisition of ARO by one of the multinational automotive concerns, as has already happened with many national manufacturers. On the one hand, such changes can be considered a plus, since they will allow the company to significantly improve the quality of cars, on the other hand, if ARO stops producing its own cars and redesigns itself to assemble "master" cars, the company will turn into another assembly appendage. We can only hope that financial difficulties are temporary, and that the lack of interest in ARO from the sharks of the international automotive business will persist for a long time. Otherwise, not only the emergence of new small automobile companies using the ARO basis, but also the existence of existing assembly plants, as well as the search for spare parts for the repair of more than 300 thousand ARO cars around the world, will be questionable.