German car maker BMW will spend a billion euros ($1.17bn) building a new assembly plant in Hungary, its first new factory in Europe in nearly 20 years.
The new plant in the town of Debrecen will produce up to 150,000 conventional and electric vehicles a year, and create more than 1,000 new jobs, the company said today.
A BMW spokesman told Bloomberg that it would be BMW’s first new European carmaking facility since 2000, when it built a site at Leipzig.
The decision comes amid a lurch toward protectionism by the US, which is provoking similar reactions in the global economy.
BMW said Europe is both its biggest market and biggest production base.
"After significant investments in China, Mexico and the USA, we are now strengthening our activities in Europe to maintain a worldwide balance of production between Asia, America and our home continent," said Harald KrÃ¼ger, chairman of the BMW AG Board of Management.
Construction at Debrecen, which is about 124 miles east of Budapest, will start in the second half of 2019, BMW said.
Bloomberg notes that BMW is the fifth major producer to start making vehicles in the central European nation.
Debrecen was chosen for its infrastructure, logistics connections, proximity to established suppliers, and its qualified population, BMW said.
"The plant in Debrecen will set new standards in digitalisation, sustainability and flexibility. In addition, it will be a technology leader, with innovative solutions for automation, state-of-the-art assistance systems and flexible logistics applications," said the BMW statement.
Image: Debrecen was chosen for its infrastructure, logistics connections, proximity to established suppliers, and its qualified population, BMW said (BMW AG)