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Automotive News in Brief

Apollo Tyres Sponsors DVTK Sports Club

Deepening its connection further with Hungary, Indian tire manufacturer Apollo Tyres has partnered with sports club DVTK, including its top flight soccer team, and signed a three-year shirt sponsorship deal, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. The company will leverage DVTK’s passionate and massive fan base to raise awareness of its brand among potential customers, business partners and consumer audiences in Hungary. Apollo’s Gyöngyöshalász factory (79 km northeast of Budapest) was inaugurated in April last year. When it reaches full capacity, the plant will produce 5.5 million passenger car and light truck (PCLT) tires and 675,000 heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) tires per year, predominantly for the European market. In addition to this, the Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) tire unit is almost ready, with commercial production set to start soon. Its capacity “will be outstanding in the Hungarian tire industry”, Apollo says with 675,000 TBR tires per annum.

BMW may Choose Hungary to Build Plant

After Sandra Schillmöller, spokesperson for BMW, said that the company is looking for places to establish production capacities in various countries, people in Hernádnémedi (192 km northeast of Budapest, and just 14 km east of Miskolc) are hoping that the plant will be built in their village, autopro.hu reported. The mayor cannot disclose any information as he has signed a confidentiality agreement. It is known that an investment in Hernádnémedi has been declared a national priority investment, Csaba Kilián, general secretary of the Association of the Hungarian Automotive Industry (MAGE) said. BMW would not have a problem finding qualified workforce, he added, as the reputation of the company would attract people from all over the country. Already at least 50 Hungarian companies supply car parts to BMW and there is a reliable supply chain in the country.

Self-driving car Test Track has new Competitor

The test track that is being built in Zalaegerszeg (227 km southwest of Budapest) to test self-driving vehicles is getting a regional competitor, autopro.hu reported. The Czech government is supporting the construction of a test track to be built by BMW next to Solokov (145 km from Prague, close to the border with Germany) with a grant of EUR 18.7 million. BMW earlier said that it will spend some hundred million euros on the investment, creating a few hundred jobs. According to the plans, the test track will start operations in 2022.

Mercedes-Benz’ Hungarian output up 4.1%

German carmaker Daimler produced more than 190,000 vehicles at its base in Hungary last year, up by 4.1% from 2016, Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary managing director Christian Wolff said on May 14, profitline.hu reported. Financial director Josip Niksic said the share of Hungarian suppliers to the unit had risen over 50% last year. The unit is ploughing back its profits into developments, including a EUR 580 million chassis plant and a EUR 1 billion plant expansion, he added. Revenue of the unit, in Kecskemét (93 km southeast of Budapest), increased by more than 4% to EUR 3.6 bln, Wolff said. Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary will lay the cornerstone of the expansion in just a few weeks, he noted. Additionally, it is undertaking developments at the existing plant, where production of A-Class models has already started, replacing production of B-Class models. At least 2,500 people will be hired at the base in the coming period, with current headcount at 4,000. Revenue of Mercedes-Benz Hungária, which sells the Mercedes-Benz brand locally, rose 26% to HUF 101 bln last year, said its managing director Jörg Schmidt. In Q1 2018, the brand remained market leader in the premium segment with sales of 836 cars, up 33% year-on-year, he added.

New car Registrations up 39% in April

New car registrations in Hungary climbed 38.9% from a year earlier to 12,056 in April, mainly on increased demand from non-corporate buyers, the Hungarian Vehicle Importers Association (MGE) said, autószektor.hu reported. Demand is also affected by low interest rates and the gradual repayment of foreign exchange-based loans. Sales of light commercial vehicles edged down 1% to 1,775. Heavy commercial vehicle registrations climbed 56.4% to 677. The number of motorcycle registrations came to 409, up 42%. In January-April, the number of new car registrations rose 32.2% from the same period last year. MGE projects that 2,000-2,500 new electric cars could be registered this year. In April, Suzuki was the most popular brand of car, followed by Ford, Skoda, Opel, Toyota and Volkswagen.