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Workers' skill, precision biggest draw for Opel in Hungary

Car maker Opel's decided to spend more than €500 million on an expansion at its base in Hungary because of the skills, precision and dependability of the plant's workers, General Motors Powertrain Magyarország managing director Tamás Solt told MTI.

Opel said in September that it would spend €500 million to expand its base in Szentgotthárd.

Solt told MTI other reasons for picking Hungary for the new capacity were the lower operating costs, resulting in part because the company does not have to build a new plant, and a state grant to support the investment. The size of the grant will be revealed only after it is approved by the European Union, he added.

The National Economy Ministry said earlier the grant was expected to be about HUF 7.5 billion, adding a decision on the size had not yet been taken. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the state would recoup the grant within four years.

Opel could start production of three new engine types - a petrol engine under 1.5 liters and petrol and diesel engines both over 1.5 liters - at the plant in 2012.

The new capacity will be used in earnest from 2015 and headcount will gradually be raised by 800 as output increases by an annual 500,000 units, Solt said. Now the plant has capacity to turn out 460,000-500,000 engines a year, but it makes just 217,000-218,000 and is still operating with a four-day work week, he added. (MTI – Econews)