Van Hool plant in Macedonia officially inaugurated

Van Hool plant in Macedonia officially inaugurated

  • Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski cuts the ribbon.
  • Investment of 25 million € offers Van Hool new opportunities at home and abroad.
  • More than 125 vehicles have already been produced by 430 employees in Macedonia.

 

vanhoolmacedonia_168.jpgSkopje, Macedonia – Mr Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of Macedonia, and numerous other members of the Macedonian government were present at the official inauguration of Van Hool´s new bus plant in Skopje, Macedonia. With this investment of 25 million €, the Koningshooikt-based company wishes to reaffirm and strengthen its position on the international coach and bus market in the coming years. Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool NV, declared during the official inauguration that starting in 2015, a new type of coach – the “EX (pronounced : e-iks) – will be built in Macedonia for the European and other new markets.

At the beginning of 2012, Van Hool announced that it had received a large order for 500 coaches for the North-American market. This order in fact consisted of 2 orders: a first one for 300 standard coaches, and a second one for 200 coaches with high added value. In order to secure the first order, the company from Koningshooikt was obliged to make an investment of 25 million € in a new factory in Macedonia. CEO Filip Van Hool explains this decision: “Van Hool wants to continue playing a significant role on the American market. From the start it was clear that we couldn’t build these 300 standard coaches in Belgium : the cost price, above all because of the high wage costs for building a series of standard coaches was too high. After a detailed analysis of several possibilities, we decided to build a new plant in Macedonia. The country, although not a member of the EU, is nevertheless very European oriented. The favourable investment climate, together with the working conditions and the skills of the highly-motivated workforce, prompted us to make an investment of 25 million € in Macedonia. Moreover, if we hadn´t made this investment for that first order, we wouldn´t have received the second order for high added value coaches that are being currently built in Koningshooikt.”

vanhoolmacedonia_53.jpgProduction in the new Van Hool plant began in July 2013. Just one year ago, the same Prime Minister of Macedonia dug the first shovelful of dirt at the ground breaking ceremony that marked the start of the plant´s construction. The first completed coach left the plant on 15 October 2013. In the meantime, 431 Macedonian employees (410 men and 21 women) are working in the brand-new plant and more than 125 coaches have already been built for the American market. This year, around 300 vehicles are being built in Macedonia for the North-American market.

During the official opening, CEO Filip Van Hool also said : “This site offers even more prospects in the short term. We are following the evolution of the bus and coach market closely, and we are convinced that for a certain type of coach, also a standard-type coach, there still remain many opportunities in Europe and other regions. For this reason, as from the fourth quarter of this year, we will be building in Skopje a vehicle that has been given the model name “EX” (pronounced: e-iks).  Research, development and sale of the vehicle all take place in Koningshooikt, Belgium. We plan to present the vehicle, to the international public for the first time, at the IAA international trade fair in Hannover, Germany  (25/9/2014 – 2/10/2014).

Van Hool is a Belgian independent manufacturer of buses, touring coaches and industrial vehicles. The company, founded in 1947, is established in Koningshooikt. The vast majority of the production is intended for Europe and America. Van Hool has over 4,000 employees worldwide, the largest share of whom work in the production sites in Koningshooikt and Bree (Belgium) and in Skopje (Macedonia).  \
Van Hool building new type of standard coach for Europe and new markets in Macedonia starting in 2015.

  • Van Hool aims to strengthen its position in Europe and open up new markets.
  • New type of standard coach will be presented at the end of September 2014 at the IAA in Hannover, Germany.

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Skopje, Macedonia – During the official inauguration of the new Van Hool plant in Skopje, Macedonia, Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool NV, announced that the production of a new vehicle type will be starting in the fourth quarter of this year at the company’s new site in Skopje. The new model, a standard coach that has received the name “EX” (pronounced : e-iks), will be marketed as of 2015 in Europe and other new markets.

artistimpressionfrontdetailmail.jpg“Van Hool wants to continue playing a significant role on the international market of buses and coaches,” says Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool. “For the first time since the worldwide financial-economic crisis began, we’re again thinking in terms of growth. True to tradition, we stay in close contact with what´s going on at our customers and keep a sharp eye on how the market is evolving.  What we’ve been seeing prompted us to build a new type of coach. With this new vehicle type we can even tap new markets that until recently were virtually unattainable for us. It will be a standard type coach, characterised by the high quality standards for which Van Hool is renown for. Over the past few months, the employees at the new plant in Skopje have clearly demonstrated that they can quickly make Van Hool’s high quality standards their own. The vehicle is situated in the lower segment of the international bus and coach market and, in order to be competitive, it has to be built cost-efficiently. For the more specialised work with high added value, the plant in Koningshooikt naturally remains the ideal site. We invite everyone to come take a look at the new vehicle at the major international trade fair IAA in Hannover, Germany which is being held from 25/9/2014 through 2/10/2014.”
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