According to plans, from 2022 the government will only support the procurement and further development of electric buses, and as part of the national bus strategy, in the next ten years they will spend HUF 36 billion on the procurement of mostly electric buses.

At the laying of the foundation stone of the new bus manufacturing hall of ITK Holding Zrt.,  Tamás Schanda, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology said one of the priority goals of the government is to supply the vehicular needs of domestic public transport mainly from Hungarian production. Regarding the school bus introduced by the company, he said safe vehicles will be manufactured on foundations created by an internationally recognised foreign company, thanks to the ideas of Hungarian designers and the work of Hungarian experts. He highlighted that this school bus, too, is a product with a high domestic added value.

He indicated that in Hungary approximately 8,500 buses in total are involved in local and commuter public transport. The general goal is to ensure that this fleet of vehicles is comprised of vehicles using the latest, cutting-edge technologies, and to reduce the average age of the fleet from 14.7 years at present to 10 years.

Mr Schanda described motor vehicle production as one of the driver sectors of the Hungarian economy. He said three quarters of the world’s twenty most important motor vehicle manufacturers are among the 620 domestic vehicle production companies present in Hungary, forty of the top one hundred, and three of the five Far East giants involved in electromobility.

“Today these companies provide jobs for more than a hundred thousand people in Hungary. This sector is responsible for generating almost one tenth of economic production, and one quarter of exports,” he added.

The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology spoke about Debrecen’s regional role in words of praise, highlighting that the government itself supports its further extension. The government supports the transport infrastructure and public utility investments implemented in the city with some HUF 130 billion, and based on local development needs, they are also planning to implement educational, university and vocational training investments to the total value of some HUF 35 billion, he added.

“With these jointly planned developments, Debrecen therefore could become a business, innovation, transport, educational, cultural and health care centre with an impact pointing beyond the borders,” Mr Schanda stressed.

György Kossa, Chair-Chief Executive of ITK Holding Zrt. said in the past few years his company has implemented developments and investments in mobility worth HUF 26 billion; the new Debrecen production facility will cost two billion forints.

Five of the 14 models defined in their motor vehicle production strategy have already been completed, and serial production has also started. Their production capacity will now increase by five thousand square metres in Debrecen.

The investment will strengthen their cooperation in bus production with their strategic partners, EvoBus and Mercedes Benz. With the Mercedes-Benz Reform buses developed and manufactured by the company group, they wish to contribute to the implementation of the bus strategy announced by the government, and would like to become Central and Eastern Europe’s dominant mobility company, Mr Kossa said, and then presented the prototype of the school bus created on the foundations of a Mercedes-Benz model with Hungarian innovation.

Regarding the latter, Reinhard Münster, Chief Executive of Mercedes-Benz Hungary indicated that ITK has obtained the certificate necessary for the production of the bus model, and “has become a new and authentic bodywork manufacturer of Mercedes”.

Péter Ratatics, Managing Director of Mol Hungary said one of the focus areas of the MOL 2030 strategy is to turn the company into a genuine mobility service provider.

“With the acquisition of a majority stake in ITK, we have also entered the market of bus public transport,” he indicated, observing that in the future they will intend to serve the population’s mobility needs with continuous innovation.

László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen (Fidesz-KDNP) pointed out that in the past five years, the city’s industry had undergone a major transformation, and the automotive industry had become a dominant player. He expressed hope that in the future the city would become a major host region for domestic bus production, for the purposes of which it has adequate infrastructure, a regional market and qualified work force.

With a view to the improvement of the latter, as part of the event, ITK concluded a cooperation agreement with the Debrecen and Berettyóújfalu vocational training centres in the interest of the training of the future’s technical experts amidst real-life circumstances. The company group will provide premises for the practical training of engineering, transport, electromechanical and electronics vocations. Parallel with this, the vocational training centres will extend their choices of training programmes in line with the company’s needs, the attending experts pointed out after the signing of the agreement.