ITK Holding to start production of Mercedes buses in spring
Hungarian-owned ITK Holding will start serial production of Mercedes Benz Reform 500 LE buses at its plant in Debrecen, eastern Hungary, at the end of March or early April, Chairman-CEO György Kossa was cited as saying in Wednesdayʼs issue of business daily Világgazdaság.
Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, pictured at the presentation of the new model in Debrecen in December (photo: kormany.hu).
Once production is ramped up, the plant could turn out 250-300 buses a year, employing 300 workers, including 150-170 now in apprenticeships, the paper said. Fewer robots are used in bus manufacturing than in passenger car production, it noted.
ITK plans to build another, 10,000 square-meter plant in Debrecen next year, close to the airport. Production there will be raised to an annual 700-800 buses over a period of about five years, raising ITKʼs total output to 1,000-1,200 units a year.
Világgazdaság observes that the market for buses supports such ambitious plans, with more than 18,000 buses currently running on Hungarian roads with an average age of 14.7 years. In order to conform to EU directives, it adds, some 7,000 buses would need to be replaced immediately.
The report notes that there are some 1.4 million buses in operation in the EU as a whole, and that this market can absorb as many as 140,000-200,000 new buses annually.
"The Debrecen buses, therefore, have their place on both the Hungarian and EU markets," stressed Kossa.
ITK aims to spend EUR 70 million on vehicle development and expanding production in Debrecen. The holding had revenues of HUF 352 billion in 2106, public records show.
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