ARO (short for Auto Romania) was an off-road vehicle manufacturer located near the town of Campulung Muscel, Romania
It started production in 1957 and manufactured over 360,000 vehicles, 2/3 of which were exported in some 110 countries (before 1989 about 90% of the ARO production was exported).
ARO is the oldest car manufacturer and the only off-road vehicles producer in Romania. The first off-road vehicle rode out on the gate of the factory in 1957. Since then many different types of cars have been designed and produced, cars that have been developed to meet high requirements both on city roads and on hilly grounds.
In 1959 the M59 model was made and in 1963 the M461 appeared on the market. M461 was the first exported model (starting with 1965). ARO cars have been sold in 55 countries.
In 1971 the first ARO 24 were turned on. ARO 24 is a robust car designed for transport persons and goods in hilly zones.
In 1979 ARO 10 model was turned out for the first time. It was a car that combines successfully the capacity of riding over obstacles with the mobility of driving through town.
Over the years, these vehicles have been continually subjected to design modification and their technical performances have been improved to please various payment and comfort requirements. In this respect, an eloquent example is the turning out in 1999 of the new range of cars ARO SUPER, which is a join of the body of ARO 10 and the frame of ARO 24.
In September 2003, the Romanian state sold for a price of 180,000 USD, 68.7% of ARO to "Cross Lander", owned by John Perez. The contract said that the company had to invest 2 million USD, but allegedly, none of this investment was done. Instead, the industrial equipment of ARO was sold off (according to the privatization contract, he was not allowed to do that).
The Romanian state sued John Perez in 2006 for using false documents which helped him to buy the company.
The ARO 244 model was planned to enter the US market as the Cross Lander 244X, but funding ran out in February 2006
The company Cross Lander USA Inc fired all its employees, sold its headquarters and closed down in February 2006.
ARO went into bankruptcy in June 2006. The company Amrom Automotive 2006 is 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. Current plans expect a production of 1,200 vehicles by the end of 2006.
For a small amount of time, Daihatsu-powered AROs were produced in Spain and Portugal under the brands Hisparo and Portaro, respectively.
The ARO 10 off-roader was symobolised as one of the rewards given by Nicolae Ceauşescu to women who gave birth to ten or more children.