Opening ceremony for BYD Hungarian production facility

BYD has formally opened its first bus plant in Europe in the northern Hungarian town of Komarom. The new plant sees an initial investment by BYD of around €20million with 32 employees of whom 68 per cent are factory workers. Eventually the plant will employ around 300 people, according to BYD, the vast majority being locally-recruited Hungarians with a technical background, who will assemble up to 400 electric buses a year on two shifts for export to customers across continental Europe.

Initial output will be electric buses and coaches but other products will follow, including electric forklift trucks and light commercial vehicles. It is planned that the Hungary plant will produce the bus chassis for the UK (for assembly into complete vehicles under the BYD ADL partnership) and the newly-announced BYD factory in France. There are plans to deliver up to 40 vehicles by the end of this year.

Isbrand Ho, managing director, BYD Europe explained why BYD chose Hungary and Komarom for its new factory: “Firstly because of its central location and its long tradition of engineering excellence but also we are very conscious of the strong heritage of bus making in this immediate area. Now the government is reinforcing that industry and we are proud to be at the forefront of that movement”.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of foreign affairs and trade, adds: “We are very pleased that BYD, a major Chinese multinational on the cutting edge of new automotive technology, has chosen Hungary as the location for its first fully-owned bus plant in Europe, which will eventually employ 300 people.

“This investment demonstrates Hungary’s success in attracting both industrial investment and innovation, and the international competitiveness of its auto sector.”

BYD says the new 66,000 sq m complex is the first of a series of European production facilities.

“Not a week goes past without another report linking the serious detrimental health consequences of breathing polluted air and most of that pollution comes from road vehicles, largely diesel powered,” adds Ho. “Learning from the streets of major Chinese cities where poor air quality is not new, we are targeting our world-leading battery technology on the city bus sector, although our ambitions stretch way beyond this humble type of vehicle.

“It is no coincidence therefore that BYD electric buses already make up the largest fleet of zero emission buses at a major international airport – Amsterdam’s Schiphol – and the largest fleet of electric city buses – in service on the streets of London.”