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Thyssenkrupp’s automotive branch celebrates 20 years in Hungary

Thyssenkruppʼs automobile industry branch celebrated its 20th anniversary in Hungary last week, with the firm now employing some 2,200 people in Hungary, the company tells the Budapest Business Journal.

Marc de Bastos Eckstein

The story began in November 1999, when the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and Thyssenkrupp started a joint development. The German company asked three PhD students to prepare the working model of an electromechanical steering system. 

The system was ready in a month and was presented in December in the parking lot of the Thyssenkrupp HQ in Eschen (Liechtenstein).

The work continued officially, resulting in the opening of the electrical and electronic competence center in Budapest, which employs more than 900 engineers today. The competence center assembles steering systems for automotive giants such as BMW, Daimler, SGMW and the Chinese joint venture of General Motors.

Thyssenkrupp and BME celebrated the 20-year anniversary where it all began, at the university.     

“The Hungarian economy is improving; during the last nine years, it has become one of the most dynamically developing economies in the European Union," said László György, State Secretary at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, conveying the message of Minister László Palkovics.

"One after the other, foreign enterprises are starting to realize that with its considerable knowledge base and professionals, Central Europe is the economic driving force of the Union. They have realized that investing in this region is worth it. Vehicle production continues to grow in Hungary: Since 2010, the numbers have doubled in several areas. By 2018, production volume and production value of the sector had increased more than twofold. The latter exceeded HUF 8 trillion last year, and this year, it is expected to surpass HUF 9 tln," he added.

At that time, as head of department and associate professor of the Department of Automobiles of the Faculty of Transportation Engineering, Palkovics was the person who recommended the three PhD students to Thyssenkrupp.

Hungary gaining importance in manufacturing

Karsten Kroos, chairman of the management board of business area components technology, the automobile industry branch of Thyssenkrupp, addressed the event via a video message.

“Today, Hungary is the most important European manufacturing area of the international automobile industry. We count ourselves lucky that Thyssenkrupp has become a significant part of this growth. Ever since the beginning, we have been just as focused on research and development as building up manufacturing," Kroos emphasized.

"In the last three years only, HUF 50 bln have been spent on new factory investments, and currently, we have about 2,200 highly qualified employees. I am immensely proud of this development,” he said.

Marc de Bastos Eckstein, managing director of the automobile industry branch of Thyssenkrupp in Hungary said, “When I arrived in Hungary, only seventy of us worked in the automobile industry in Hungary; I am proud to say that today, we have 2,200 employees. Just as we did 20 years ago, we are working on new and innovative solutions today here, in Budapest."

"We look to the future, keep an eye on the changes of the market and the world, and are prepared to adapt to them. We continue to do our best in our Hungarian projects," he noted.