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3000 New Buses Per Year: Legendary Hungarian Manufacturer Ikarus Could Rise From Its Ashes Soon

Ferenc Sullivan 2016.08.03.

Hungarian bus manufacturer Ikarus is set to expand its annual production capacity to 3 000 buses in response to the government’s action plan to support local bus manufacturing, the company’s owner has revealed.

Speaking in the Tuesday edition of the daily newspaper Magyar Hírlap, billionaire entrepreneur Gábor Széles said that the firm expects to export two buses for every bus sold on the domestic market. This means that if Hungarian public transport operators would require 1 000 new buses per year, the company would still be able to sell a further 2 000 abroad. New models are already in demand in Ikarus’s traditional foreign export markets, Mr. Széles, who has owned the company since 2006, said.

szeles-gabor-foto-Hegedus-RobertThe company’s owner Gábor Széles – a billionaire with close links to the Hungarian government – promises that production at the Ikarus plant in Székesfehérvár could soon reach 3 000 buses per year (photo:

Annual production capacity at its base in Székesfehérvár, in central Hungary, used to be 6 000 buses in its heyday so 3 000 units are easily within reach, he said, adding that machinery for the production should be operational by the end of September.

149-es_busz_(BPO-341)In production between 1972 and 2002, Ikarus 260 buses remain a common sight across the country

The bus manufacturing company, which has a history dating back to 1895, Ikarus became the world’s fourth-largest bus manufacturer by 1973. Originally based in Budapest and Székesfehérvár, Ikarus factories closed down in 2007 but production was resumed in the Székesfehérvár plant in 2010.

In comparison, Europe’s currently largest bus manufacturing plant – the Volvo factory in Wrocław, Poland – has an annual production capacity of 3 000 vehicles per year.

In July, the government announced its 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.

cover photo: the 1000th Ikarus IK30 bus, pictured in 1952 (source: Fortepan)