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Minister: Hungary well positioned in competition for electric car R and D investments

After securing electric car manufacturing investments in the first phase of the competition for attracting such businesses, now Hungary has a good chance of attracting R and D projects in the sector as well, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said on Tuesday, announcing an investment by the German-owned Schaeffler Savaria, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers.

The 5.2 billion forint (EUR 13.6m) R and 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, the ministry said in a press release. One hundred new jobs linked to engineering will be created as a result, it added.

Szijjarto 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 manufacture here, he noted.

The second phase was about R and 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 and D bases, Szijjarto said.

Schaeffler’s R and 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 percent 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 percent in the first ten months, he said.

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