Ábrahám Ganz foundry master founded his ironworks in Buda in 1844. He manufactured chilled-iron railway wheels, railway track frogs and grinding machines for the cereal industry based on his own patents. Large scale vehicle manufacturing began in Hungary in the 1900s. By the 70s and 80s, Hungary became the number two public transport vehicle manufacturer in Europe. The foundations of Hungarian vehicle manufacturing were laid down by large traditional enterprises like Ganz, Rába and Ikarus.
After the change of regime these companies were disintegrated. However, the professional corps of skilled people continued to exist at the successor companies, and their capacity is free and able to satisfy foreign demands in European quality and at far-eastern prices. The Hungarian industry of rail-mounted vehicles owns the capacities and infrastructure that allow, apart from satisfying domestic demands, production for export markets as well. These are interdependent companies and the related institutions that together and in cooperation with each other focus on specific areas/sectors in the same geographical region, and are connected also by common technologies and capabilities. They largely use each other’s products and services, based on the same knowledge base and infrastructure, and utilize similar innovation basis.
As a consequence of the territory loss following World War I Hungary became poor in natural raw materials and energy sources, because most of the occurrences got outside the new boundaries. The lack of raw materials and energy sources became more and more threatening during the industrialisation and the incidental urbanisation after World War II. The exploitation of domestic coal and oil stocks could not keep pace with the demands increasing year after year.
By the early 1970s it became evident that domestic natural gas reserves will not provide sufficient fuel supply. The explosion in oil prices in 1973 provided the final reason for the COMECON member states to jointly construct the first long-distance conduit transporting Siberian natural gas from Orenburg to the western border of the Soviet Union. This investment realised between 1975 and 1979 was the prelude and full-dress rehearsal of the “fall into sin” of Europe. This is when Europe’s dependence on energy that continues to this day began.
Our natural gas consumption increased by 25% during the past 20 years. In 2010 we consumed 12 bn m3 gas which, in parallel with the exploitation of Hungarian natural gas fields, we could only cover by increasing imports that had already been considered high. Our natural gas imports further increased in the past 20 years: by 50%, and its share within the entire consumption is at 81% now coming mostly from Russia.
As a consequence, emphasis in Hungary shifted to storage, further transport and servicing rather than exploitation. Hungarian capacity became much larger and labour force much more developed than required by the then situation. Our consortium was born to exploit this opportunity. Our objective is now to export all the know-how that was accumulated in the course of the years.