The Minister of Innovation Daniel Lorer and the President Rumen Radev opened a forum organized by Automotive Cluster Bulgaria. In the middle is its chairman Lyubomir Stanislavov. PHOTO: VELISLAV NIKOLOV
After the Germans with the plant near Lovech, whose construction begins in July, talks are underway with Chinese electric car companies, as well as with an American manufacturer
Seven new projects in the automotive sector are being actively worked on, which could reach over BGN 2 billion and create jobs for 4,000 people.
This was announced by the Minister of Innovation Daniel Lorer, who opened the international conference Automotive & Mobility Forum 2022 on Thursday. It is being held in Sofia and brings together participants from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. It is organized by Automotive Cluster Bulgaria.
One of the companies will start production near Pleven. It is French and will create about 2,000 jobs in the long run, up from 700 at first.
Negotiations are also underway with a Japanese company that wants to open a development center in Sofia. She already had a factory in Serbia, but assessed the intellectual capacity and human potential in Bulgaria, Lorer said. This trend has been observed among more and more investors. “It simply came to our notice then
we want to attract the smartest part from the car industry,
therefore, the next important thing is to work on the development of human capital “, said Laurer, recalling that in the autumn the Institute of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology” Insight “will open in Bulgaria.
According to him, the future is related to electric cars and autonomous cars. “We can be among the leaders in software development for them. We have very good Bulgarian engineers, whose main activity will be the development of the next generation of hardware and software for companies in the sector, “said the Minister.
Another priority will be the development of green energy, for which a set of tools are provided in the recovery plan.
In the next programming period, the connection between business and science will be stimulated more. Companies can be supported by the state to do research. Research institutions can also count on support to get their developments to business and be integrated into it.
“The automotive industry is among those that are the most innovative and bring the most added value. Our country can become
innovation center for the sector, especially for electric cars
The government recognizes this industry as extremely important and we want to give it a new impetus, to work together, “Lorer concluded.
The automotive industry is a priority for the state, confirmed the head of the investment agency Bogdan Bogdanov in an interview for “24 hours” two weeks ago. He said at the time that talks were under way not only with carmakers but also with other players in the parts supply network, including local battery production. Talks are being held with companies that produce different types of electric vehicles and work is being done to attract complete car assembly.
Talks are underway with a Chinese electric car company, as well as with an American manufacturer.
The construction of the Bulgarian plant for electric cars near Lovech “Next.e.Go.Bulgaria” is expected to start soon.
The automotive sector is the largest private investor in research and development,
the fastest growing industry, which reached 10-12% of GDP, in 5 years will have a share of 20%
Already 70,000 jobs are in the sector and next year will reach 1/4 of industrial jobs. Out of 10 cars made in Europe, 9 of them have components made in Bulgaria, and 80% of the sensors in Europe are made here. This was pointed out by President Rumen Radev.
He reminded that while jobs were being closed in Europe during the pandemic, the automotive sector in Bulgaria not only survived, but did not lose a single employee. “Here, too, we must emphasize the role of the state, which values this sector,” the president confirmed.
According to him, the most important factor for the development of Bulgaria are the people who produce and offer new leading ideas and because of them we have great potential in the development of electronics, artificial intelligence, software.
We rank third in the world in the number of IT professionals per capita,
we have a sustainable startup ecosystem. And the Bulgarian students are on the first places at the Olympiads in natural and mathematical sciences together with the USA, Russia, China, Radev added. But he also highlighted the problems facing the sector – the high level of bureaucracy, legislation and the need for supporting infrastructure. Our country is not working hard enough to promote our success abroad.
“It is still unknown what huge potential we have, but I hope that with the ambitions of the new government a large-scale information campaign will be launched,” Radev wished.
The Automotive & Mobility Forum runs until June 3. On the first day, a limited number of participants had the opportunity to visit two innovative bases in Sofia. One is Sensata Technologies’ largest test lab, which produces high-temperature sensors for the automotive industry, and the other is the renovated Melexis chip factory, which is about to open. On the last day of the conference there will be a round table between the executive and the legislature and business on the state of the fleet in Bulgaria and what is the state policy for its renewal.
On Thursday, for the first time in Bulgaria, the automotive division of Volkswagen – Caryad was presented. The company employs over 4,500 engineers and designers who develop innovative solutions for the car of the future. The company views our country as a potential investment destination.
Representatives of companies from Hong Kong, India, Belgium and Germany were also present at the conference.