Székesfehérvár-based bus manufacturing company Ikarus, owned by Hungarian billionaire Gábor Széles, could participate in building the 150 buses necessary to substitute Budapest’s metro line 3 during its renovation. While a decision is yet to be made by the Budapest municipal assembly, plans are that the factory will produce 30 buses in the framework of the cooperation project.
Mr. Mészáros behind the steering-wheel of an Evopro Medio Electric bus (photo: Attila Béres/MNO)
Speaking in an interview with mno.hu, Csaba Mészáros, the owner and chairman of evopro Holding Zrt., co-owner of the MABI bus factory, revealed that the capital caled two tenders in late August to purchase a sufficient number of buses to substitute traffic on Budapest’s busiest subway line. The first of these was won by Polish firm Solaris, while Hungarian MABI-BUS Kft. won the second with its diesel model MODULO M168d. Although the Hungarian firm had been heavily criticised for producing its buses at far higher prices than its Polish competitor, the company’s chairman pointed out that its vehicles are priced at 15-20 per cent below the regional average.Billionaire Gábor Széles’s firm will join the project because “Hungarian bus manufacturing can onlybe successful in a common effort”. “At long last, we have to undestand that in order to produce competitive products in Easter Europe, we must be productive. We cannot increase wages if we produce two buses while a Western firm makes ten”, Mr. Mészáros said. This would necessitate a continuous flow of orders and mass production, as opposed to the currently practice, which sees a small number of vehicles purchased from manufacturers on an ad hoc basis. No decision has been reached on which of the two manufacturers will receive the order.
On Wednesday, the government is expected to announce the national bus manufacturing strategy, which is expected to have a major impact on the re-industrialisation of Hungary, an objective pursued by the Orbán government, and suppliers.
Recently, the Hungarian company manufactured 20 midi-buses, of which there is a rapidly expanding European market, for the Budapest public transport company BKV. At the time, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said that Hungary aims to become a leader in Central Europe’s electric bus market.
photo: Zoltán Máthé/MNO