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Debrecen factory construction begins

The Magyar Nemzet is the main daily outlet of Hungary. Founded in 1938, the Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) is a reference journal for the conservatives of Hungary. The conservative newspaper is close to the current Hungarian government lead by Viktor Orbán.

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This article was published online by the Magyar Nemzet on 10 December 2021.

The new head of the Debrecen BMW factory will be arriving from Leipzig. Hans-Peter Kemser is an expert in electronic vehicle manufacturing; at his former workplace he was responsible for the i3 model production among other things. From the beginning of next year, construction of the Debrecen factory will commence under his supervision.

The current head of the Leipzig BMW factory, Hans-Peter Kemser, will be arriving to Debrecen on January 1st to lead the project. Thus far, the plant in Eastern Hungary has built the necessary infrastructure, the foundations of various buildings, roads, and railway tracks. The key buildings will be constructed in the beginning of the new year under Kemser’s supervision.

Kemser has extensive experience with BMW; since 2015, he headed the factory in Leipzig and was responsible for series 1 and 2 manufacturing as well as the i3.

Director of production, Milan Nedeljkovic, told that Hans-Peter Kemser is an outstanding professional and thanks to his many years of experience, he will surely successfully oversee the implementation of the Debrecen factory. In the past months, Michele Melchiorre was in charge of the Hungarian plant’s construction; he joined BMW from the Austrian rubber company, Semperit. However, Melchiorre in the meantime has taken over the

Senior Vice President Production System, Technical Planning, Tool Shop, Plant Construction role at the company.

Kemser is the electronic vehicles specialist at BMW.

Production at the new Debrecen department will begin in 2025. The factory which will initially employ one thousand people will be built in a greenfield investment. Up to 150,000 vehicles will be rolled off the assembly lines each year, but capacity can potentially be doubled later on as there is space available for a second phase of development. The first buildings to be constructed for the Debrecen factory will be the central office building and the training center. From an investment worth over one billion euros, the Hungarian government provided support in the sum of HUF 12.3 billion. The future BMW plant is located in the north-western economic zone of Debrecen and will be built on a piece of land the size of 560 football fields.

The BMW Group’s construction and facilities development team will begin building a number of non-technological buildings next year as well. These include locations built for design, certification, and training work along with human resources and management.

Tenders for the construction of the technological buildings such as the press plant, the structural engineering department, the paint department, and the assembly hall, will be opened in the coming months.

Starting from the middle of the decade, the BMW Group’s Debrecen factory will be producing electric vehicles which will be uncompromisingly, purely electrically powered from the start.

Infrastructure development works in the area are occurring in parallel with the factory construction. Public procurement for the expansion of the Debrecen main road 33 which goes through the north-western economic zone will soon be completed. The first call for tenders was withdrawn due to inefficiency; most likely, additional resources will be required as the cheapest bid received in the open tender also included a higher price than originally calculated. If the government can ensure funding, construction could begin early next year. The Nemzeti Infrastruktúra-fejlesztő Zrt. (National Infrastructure developer) previously planned to start work this December already.

As is well known, in the autumn of 2018, shortly after the announcement of the upcoming Debrecen BMW factory, the government decided to invest in a number of transportation developments. These, in addition to improving access to the north-western business zone, home of the factory, will also improve transit between the city and suburbs.

The 33 main road will be expanded to four lanes from the border of Debrecen to the road leading to Balmazújváros, to the Látóképi csárda. Due to the simultaneous railway construction, this will occur in two stages. In the first phase, the road will be expanded until the north-western economic zone. According to the call for tenders, the winner will also be responsible for the construction of a 2 x 2 lane, 95-meter-long road bridge over the railway line 108 as part of the main road along with another crossing which will be 2 x 1 lanes and 92 meters long. In addition, they will be responsible for constructing four-way stops with traffic lights as well as sidewalks and bike paths and agricultural-use dirt roads. A bicycle path will be constructed along the main road 33 as well as a noise barrier wall in the area of Kismacs.

Not exclusively electric motors

Although the BMW factory will only be for electric cars, the Bavarian manufacturer has not given up on developing other vehicles as well. CEO Oliver Zipse stated at the Scottish climate summit that it would not be a smart move to create some sort of artificial, short-sighted planned ban on internal combustion engines. In fact, this would be detrimental to the environment. According to Zipse, there are not even enough charging stations for electric cars in Germany, nor is there enough green power to charge electric cars in a climate-neutral way. Prohibiting the manufacturing of new internal combustion vehicles would only force drivers to continue driving their aging and therefore increasingly polluting cars.

Gyula Jámbor