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ARO S.A.
Former type Automotive
Founded 1957
Defunct 2006
Headquarters Câmpulung-Muscel, Argeş, Romania
Industry Automotive
Products Off-road vehicle
Website www.aro.ro

ARO (short for Auto Romania) was an off-road vehicle manufacturer located in Câmpulung-Muscel, Romania.

Production of ARO vehicles have restarted under the aegis of a Czech company called Auto Max Czech (AMC).[1]

For a short while, Daihatsu-powered AROs were produced in Spain and Portugal under the brands Hisparo and Portaro, respectively.

HistoryEdit

Lešany, Vojenské muzeum, ARO (Rumunsko) II

ARO M461

Aro 24 columbia

ARO 24 in Columbia, 2010

MHV Aro 4x4 02

ARO 10 4x4

The beginningEdit

ARO manufactured over 375,000 vehicles, 2/3 of which were exported to some 110 countries on five continents (before 1989 about 90% of the ARO production was exported). AROs were also produced in Brazil, Italy, and Portugal.

Production started in 1957 with the IMS-57, which was the first model of the IMS Series, produced under a GAZ-69 license. In 1959 the IMS-57 model was replaced by the M59, followed by a new model in 1964 called the M461. Though its styling and design were based on its predecessors', the M461 had clearly distinguishable features also boasting fit and finish improvements and redesigned mechanics.

In 1972 ARO successfully launched a ground-up redesign as their new family of models, the 24 Series which eventually included many models and configurations. The ARO 24 Series got a "little brother" in 1980, the 10 Series, also produced in many body trims with different engines and in both 4x2 and 4x4 variants.

Cross LanderEdit

Aro as military jeep

Military ARO 244 in service with the Albanian Army

Romania stamp - 1975 - 55B - ARO 240

ARO 240

In 1998 an American businessman, John Perez, offered franchise agreements to US auto dealers. Some 200 dealers paid $75,000 each for franchise rights, for a total of $15 million dollars. These rights were offered by a company called East European Imports. The ARO was offered as a Warsaw pact surplus military vehicle. After the franchises were sold, dealers were pressured to send cashiers checks or wire transfers to start receiving vehicles that were allegedly being held in a port in Florida. Dealers refused and insisted to pay upon delivery which eventually led to East European Imports closing its doors.

In September 2003 the Romanian state sold 68.7% of ARO to Cross Lander, a company owned by John Perez, for $180,000 US. The contract stipulated that the company had to invest $2 million US, which allegedly never took place. Instead, all of ARO's production tooling and equipment were sold off; this was an action which violated the privatization contract. The Romanian state sued John Perez in 2006 for falsifying documents in order to acquire the company.[2]

The ARO 244 model was planned to enter the US market as the Cross Lander Cross Lander 244X, but funding ran out in February 2006.[3] The company Cross Lander USA Inc fired all its employees, sold its headquarters and closed down in February 2006.[4]

ARO went into bankruptcy in June 2006.[5]

AmromEdit

The company Amrom Automotive 2006 was negotiating with ARO creditors to purchase the company from bankruptcy, and plans to resume production of the ARO line of vehicles under the ARO name at the Câmpulung factory.

ModelsEdit

ARO romania

ARO 324 Pick-up

ARO IMS SeriesEdit

produced between 1957–1975

Main article: ARO IMS

ARO 24 SeriesEdit

produced between 1972–2006

Main article: ARO 24 Series
Mihai Leonte in Dracula Rally Raid 2008

Cross-country ARO 10 Super Rally in Dracula Rally Raid 2008

ARO 10 SeriesEdit

produced between 1980–2006

Main article: ARO 10

ReferencesEdit

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