A HUF 40 billion test track for both traditional and self-driving cars will be unique not only in Hungary but in Europe, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Zalaegerszeg, western Hungary, where the cornerstone of the investment was laid on Friday.
The government announced the test track, the only one of its kind in a 500-kilometer radius, last spring. According to earlier reports, the first test runs on the track, to be built on almost 250 hectares, could take place in the first half of 2018, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
A decision will be taken within days on the still missing part of financing for a main road connecting Zalaegerszeg and the M7 motorway, the planning of which has started, Orbán said.
"We must be proud that we are capable of producing Mercedes, Audi or Suzuki cars, but we would like these to be designed and developed at least in part and, if possible, tested in full here," the prime minister said. The investment will "put Hungary on the global map of vehicle industry FDI and testing, and we Hungarians will take a step to become one of Central Europeʼs vehicle industrial strongholds," he added.
The project proves that Hungary is capable of European and world-quality performance solely from its own resources, Orbán said, dispelling the view that economic growth could not happen here without EU support as "one of the steady manifestations of the Hungarian minority complex."
Those present at the event included Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, representatives of Bosch, Continental, Ericsson, General Electric, Flextronics, Huawei and Nokai, and the Austrian, British, German and Japanese ambassadors to Hungary.