German carmaker BMW will postpone the opening of its plant in Debrecen (about 195 km east of Budapest) by a year because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, chairman Oliver Zipse said on a conference call after the release of the companyʼs first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday.
"In the current situation, we are carefully reviewing all our projects as a matter of principle...As an example of this: since expected demand is always a relevant factor for us, we have decided to postpone the opening of the plant in Hungary by a year," Zipse said, according to a report by state news wire MTI.
The construction of the EUR 1 billion plant in Debrecen was slated to start in the spring, MTI reported earlier. The plant will employ about 1,000 people and have a capacity to turn out around 150,000 vehicles a year.
Commenting on the news of the postponement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said BMW remains committed to the plant in Debrecen.
"We had talks with the companyʼs executives today, too, and they assured us that they naturally remain committed to the construction of the plant in Debrecen," he said.
"Next Friday, I will meet personally with the plantʼs incoming managers and the people in charge of the investment who are coming to Debrecen," he added.
Szijjártó noted that construction work at the site of the plant is ongoing.