“The Government’s soon-to-be-unveiled Economy Protection Action Plan will encourage long-term, high rate of economic growth at least 2 percent higher than the EU average”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced at an automotive industry conference organised by the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) in Budapest on Wednesday.

Mr. Szijjártó said the latest measures will be supporting the private sector through further reductions in tax and bureaucracy, the simplification of procedures, the modernisation of vocational training and the expansion of the dual training system.

“In addition, the automotive industry will also be assisted through the expansion of the budget available to suppliers”, the Minister added. While stressing the importance of a trained workforce, the Minister encouraged automotive industry manufacturers to help the education model of the soon-to-open cooperation centre organised by Audi and the Széchenyi István University in Győr with their ideas and suggestions. “Since 2010, the sector has played a key role in both  job creation and the economy’s dimensional transition, and is retaining its priority position during the course of newer transitional processes, in the era of high added value technologies”, he stated. According to Mr. Szijjártó, the momentum of the Hungarian automotive industry is indicated by the fact that the sector’s production value has increased from an annual 3600 billion forints (EUR 11bn) in 2010 to 8500 billion forints (EUR 26bn) last year, and already approached 2500 billion forints (EUR 7.6bn) during the first quarter of this year. “In addition to the large automotive industry manufacturers producing vehicles in Hungary, 15 out of the world’s 20 largest automotive industry suppliers and three of the five Far Eastern giant corporations with an interest in electromobility have already appeared in Hungary”, he added. Citing the latter, he called electric vehicles one of the important development opportunities of the Hungarian automotive industry, in addition to which he called for the development of self-driving technologies and the further rapid expansion of digital infrastructure at a rate that remains well ahead of the EU’s digitalisation schedule.

President of the HIPA Róbert Ésik said that in his opinion the significance of the automotive industry in Hungary lies in the fact that out of all of the sectors of the economy, this is the one that provides the most opportunities to link to international value chains. “For this reason, the Agency has performed a survey of the companies operating here to help understand manufacturer plans and strategies. “The data is also helping decision-makers adjust funding and incentive measures to the requirements of those involved”, he added.

According to the data provided at the event, the highest proportion of companies polled, some two thirds of them, regard robotization as the most important challenge of the upcoming years with relation to their operations in Hungary, while 82 percent of them are planning to expand their production capacities and 63 percent their logistics capabilities over the next two years. However, a significant proportion of manufacturers are also concerned about labour shortages; 61 percent expect to encounter difficulties in hiring trained staff, while some 40 percent are planning to increase their workforce within the next 12 months. 20 percent of them are planning to employ a further 100 or more people, is transpires from the survey. The survey was prepared in April and May of 2019 based on feedback from 49 companies and via the questionnaires and personal interviews.