German carmaker Audi invests 900 million euros in Hungary
The German luxury carmaker Audi will invest 900 million euros (1.2 billion dollars) in its Hungarian plant by 2013, Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Audi chief Rupert Stadler said on Thursday.
"We want to increase our sales by 50 percent by 2015, equivalent to 1.5 million cars each year," Stadler said at a joint press conference with Orban.
Audi, a unit of Europe's largest carmaker, Volkswagen, aims to become the number one premium automaker in the world by 2015, overtaking BMW and Mercedes-Benz, respectively number one and two globally.
"This investment would have an impact on our GDP (gross domestic product) beyond our expectations," said Orban, adding that he believed it could account for as much as two percent of the country's GDP.
"Hungary will become the most competitive and most attractive region of Central Europe," he added.
The plant, located in Gyor in western Hungary, should create 1,800 new jobs and produce about 125,000 cars per year, including two versions of the compact A3 and Audi's TT coupe and roadster models, Audi said in a statement.
Stadler added that Audi has been present in Hungary since 1993 and was the main foreign investor in the country with total investments of 4 billion euros.
"The city of Gyor has won a fierce competition with its infrastructure, with its qualified workforce, flexible work schedules and also with its wage conditions," he said.
He said the plant would employ 15.000 people directly and indirectly by 2015. Audi currently employs 5,800 people in Hungary.
Audi has also reached an agreement with labour representatives to protect jobs at German sites until the end of 2014, the company quoted works council chairman Peter Mosch as saying.
The Hungarian government announced on Tuesday that another German carmaker, Opel, will invest 500 million euros to expand its Hungarian plant in Szentgotthard, also in the west of the country.
© 2010 AFP