FM: Hungary in a good position to attract electric car R&D investments

Minister Szijjártó said the “revolutionary transformation of the automotive industry” was the “backbone of the European and global economy”.

Announcing an investment by the German-owned Schaeffler Savaria, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that after securing electric car manufacturing investments in the first phase of the competition for attracting such businesses, Hungary now has a good chance of attracting R&D projects in the sector as well.

The foreign ministry said in a press release that the 5.2 billion forints (EUR 13.6m) R&D project at its plant in Szombathely is connected with parts for hybrid and pure electric vehicles, with the state providing 1.3 billion forints in support. One hundred new jobs linked to engineering will be created as a result, it added. Minister Szijjártó said in a speech at the inauguration that the “revolutionary transformation of the automotive industry” was the “backbone of the European and global economy”. This automotive revolution was completely rewriting the global economy, and countries would either be winners or losers in this new era, he added. The competition, he said, had two phases. First, it was about which countries succeeded in attracting electric automotive manufacturing, and in this respect, Hungary was a “European champion” and “among the best in the world”. The world’s second-largest electric battery plant will be operating in Hungary from 2025, and all three major German premium car brands manufactured here, the foreign minister noted. The second phase was about R&D, he said. Since Hungary has laid good foundations for manufacturing, and in terms of infrastructure developments and revamping its higher education, the country now has a “good chance of entering the second phase of the competition” for R&D bases, Minister Szijjártó said. Schaeffler’s R&D units for electric motors will be located in Szombathely, he noted, and the clutch or flywheel for every tenth car on the world’s roads was made at its plant there. Fully 93% of the plant’s output is for export, he said, adding that the company maintains excellent cooperation with several Hungarian universities. Last year, Hungary’s automotive industry set a record, with 12,000 billion forints worth of sales, while the sector grew by 16% in the first ten months, he said.