“The Schaeffler Group is constructing a new plant in Szombathely with an investment of 23.5 billion forints (EUR 70 million), creating 150 new workplaces, towards which the government is providing 5 billion forints (EUR 15 million) in non-returnable cash funding”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced on Thursday in Budapest.

“Within the framework of its new strategy, Schaeffler, which is the world’s 23rd largest automotive industry supplier, is continuously increasing its production capacity with relation to the components of electric vehicles”, he said. “The company has decided to realise its new investment project, which is required for the transition to the new automotive industry era, in Hungary, and the new production facility will also be involved in research & development”, he stated. Managing Director of Schaeffler Savaria Ltd. Tibor Szigeti told reporters that the new plant will be constructed on a 30-hectare plot, 3 kilometres from the company’s existing plant, within the framework of a greenfield investment project. 15 thousand of the plant’s 18 thousand square metres of floor space will be production area. Construction will begin in February 2020 and will be completed by the end of the year.

The Minister said a modern-day industrial revolution is underway, the tempo of which is being fundamentally dictated by the automotive industry via the fact that the focus is shifting from traditional drives to electric drives. “The newly announced investment project is proof of the fact that the changes are occurring here and now, and are having tangible effects on plants and workplaces”, he said. Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that there is huge competition between countries to attract these investment projects, and this is what is fundamentally deciding which countries will be the winners or losers of the new global economic era. He said that in his opinion, based on the figures for the recent period, Hungary is one of the winners, adding that this required the introduction of many economic policy decisions without which it would have been unable to boast a level of economic growth that is outstanding even in European Union comparison. He added that the automotive industry, which provides jobs for 175 thousand people, with its production value increasing by 14 percent during the first nine months of this year to exceed 7200 billion forints (EUR 21.4 billion), is playing a leading role in this. According to the Minister, the sector’s 90.8 percent export ratio is a clear indication of how competitive the sector is on global markets. “It is no accident that Hungary is ranked 18th in the world with relation to automotive industry exports”, he stated.

“The newly announced investment project will further increase the export performance of the Hungarian economy, will reinforce Hungary’s role as a bastion of the new automotive industry era, will provide a living for a further 150 families, and will increase demand for the products and services of Hungarian small and medium-sized enterprises”, the Minister explained. He also said that the investment will further tighten economic relations with Germany. “Germany remains the largest investor in Hungary; the six thousand German companies operating here provide employment to over 300 thousand people. Trade relations are continuously setting new records, and this is also expected to be the case this year in view of the fact that exports already exceeded 20 billion euros during the first 8 months of the year”, he indicated.

He pointed out that a new investment record has also been set: 1504 billion forints (EUR 4.47 billion) in investment arrived in Hungary until the end of October, more than during the whole of last year, with 12 out of the 62 major investment projects coming from Germany. “In Vas County, which serves as the location for the new investment project, industrial production increase by 4.3 percent during the first 9 months of the year, exceeding 1000 billion forints (EUR 2.97 billion). The rate of unemployment in the County has fallen from 11.5 percent in 2010 to just 2.5 percent”, Mr. Szijjártó told the press, adding that Vas County is expected to continue to be one of engines of the country’s economy.

Tibor Szigeti told the press that the Schaeffler Group is a family-owned business, which operates some 170 companies in over 50 countries as an industrial and automotive industry supplier. He designated four areas of focus within the company’s strategy: environmentally friendly drives, city mobility, mobility between cities, and the energy chain. The company has determined eight main strategic pillars, including Industry 4.0, digitalisation and electromobility. He pointed out that the latter is not a novelty for the company in view of the fact that Schaeffler has been developing new drive chains within the field of e-mobility for over 10 years. With relation to how the company believes the electric vehicle market will develop, Mr. Szigeti said that Schaeffler has developed an accelerated scenario according to which, assuming an unchanged level of production, 30 percent of vehicles will be purely electric, 40 percent will be hybrid, and only 30 percent of vehicles will be manufactured with traditional internal combustion engines by 2030. The Managing Director told the press that Schaeffler is present in Hungary with two plants and a sales office. Its Hungarian plants are playing an important role in the global organisation’s future-shaping plans. The company in Szombathely boasts of 20-year history and currently operates with some 3300 employees, making it the largest employer in the region. As an automotive industry supplier, it deals in the manufacturing of components, in addition to which it also has a research & development centre.