The thirty-year-long cooperation between Audi and Hungary is a true success story, which holds immense significance in terms of national economic performance, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stated in Budapest on Wednesday.
The minister began his speech at the Audi Hungaria Zrt. Branding Event by addressing current challenges. He emphasised that Europe has entered a most dangerous period in recent decades, which significantly highlights the importance of reliable points and trustworthy partnerships. ‘Examples of such
predictable partnerships and friendly cooperation can be found in Hungary, Győr, and its three-decade relationship with Audi,’
he said. He recalled that as a resident of Győr, he witnessed the excitement generated by the construction of the German car manufacturer’s second home in the city.
He emphasised that there are currently major debates in Hungary about the potential risks of electric automotive investments. The minister recalled that similar concerns were also raised when the Audi factory was being established. ‘If someone coughed twice, the general medical consensus was that it was due to the dust generated by the construction of the Audi plant,’ he recalled. ‘I believe that from a three-decade perspective, it may be clear to everyone that there is no need to fear a new investment in any way, especially when investors face strict rules and respect them,’ he stated.
Péter Szijjártó declared that it is no longer an exaggeration to speak of the cooperation based on mutual respect between Audi and Győr, and Audi and Hungary as a true success story. He then listed certain important milestones: when the company complemented engine production with vehicle manufacturing in 1998; when one of Central Europe’s largest tool factories was established in 2005; when the vehicle production activities were expanded ten years ago with a press plant and a body shop; and when the serial production of electric motors began five years ago. He formulated that the latter, while not a starting point, was an extremely important and momentum-giving moment for the government to define as a strategic direction for Hungary to remain one of the leading countries in the European automotive industry, even in the new era.
‘And now we are here in 2023 when Audi can claim to be one of the largest companies in Hungary, with the highest revenue and one of the most significant exporters,’ he emphasised. To illustrate his point, he reminded that the company has already invested 12 billion euros in Hungary, making it the clear holder of the title ‘the largest investor in Hungarian vehicle manufacturing.’ The minister stated that Audi’s continuous developments were essential for the Hungarian automotive industry to surpass the long-awaited threshold of 10 trillion forints in production value.
He stated that the sector was already close to achieving this, but then came the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. However, despite all these challenges, it managed not only to break through this ‘glass ceiling’ but also to reach 12 trillion forints immediately. This is two and a half times the figures from 2000, three and a half times the figures from 2010, and the momentum continues as there has been a registered 30 per cent growth this year.
Péter Szijjártó also pointed out that the competitiveness of the sector is well demonstrated by its 90 per cent export share, making Hungary, which ranks 95th in terms of population, one of the world’s top twenty largest automotive exporters. ‘Hungary envisions the future with Audi, and…it seems that Audi also envisions its own future with Hungary,’ he stated.
Then he expressed his opinion that this is particularly important amidst the
revolutionary renewal of the automotive industry, from which there is no turning back.
According to him, this is also necessary if humanity wants to preserve the planet in roughly its current form for future generations, considering that transportation currently accounts for 14 per cent of global emissions. ‘We all know that the future is being built in Győr, but the future is also being built in Hungary through Audi. We thank you for the cooperation of the past thirty years, and on our part, we are ready for this to be thirty years many times over,’ he concluded.