Chinese BYD to open auto assembly plant in Bulgaria

Updated: 2012-12-12 10:24


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BREZNIK, Bulgaria - Chinese BYD Company, a worldwide leader manufacturing electric cars, buses, batteries and LED lighting, and the Bulgarian energy giant Bulmineral signed a joint-venture agreement here on Tuesday to build an auto assembly plant.

The plant of the 50:50 joint-venture company called Auto Group Motors will be located in the small town of Breznik, some 50 km west of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

It will produce electric cars and electric buses, Alexander Usachev, Chief Executive Officer of Bulmineral told at the ceremony attended by Valentin Bojkov, Executive Director of Bulgaria's Road Transport Agency and Li Hong, First Secretary of the Chinese embassy in Sofia.

The first sample bus is expected to be rolled out in February 2013 and when the plant is operational at full capacity, it will produce 40 to 60 buses a month, Usachev said.

Its car assembling capacity will be clear in three months, Usachev added.

According to him, the production will be expanded further by making the entire product range of BYD such as batteries and LED lights.

Ho Isbrand, General Manager of the Auto Export Trade Division at BYD Auto Co Ltd, said this is a very important step for BYD.

"We are looking forward to having our partner here helping us to develop the business in Europe," he said.

Production of this size would solve the unemployment problem in Breznik, the town's mayor Vasil Uzunov said, while Borislav Stefanov, Executive Director of the InvestBulgaria Agency, said he was extremely happy that economic relations between Bulgaria and China continue to grow, and that Bulgaria is an interesting partner for China.

It is the second large Chinese automotive project in Bulgaria. This February, Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motors opened an auto assembly plant near the town of Lovech in northern Bulgaria, its first joint venture in Europe, together with its Bulgarian partner Litex Motors.

After its final completion around 2015, the plant, some 150 km east of Sofia, is expected to make 50,000 vehicles annually.