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19 January 2024, 12:21

Lukashenko tells government to satisfy nation’s demand for Belarusian cars no matter what

BORISOV DISTRICT, 19 January (BelTA) – The government and the relevant minister must do everything in order to satisfy the nation’s demand for Belarusian automobiles. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions during a tour of the car factory SZAO BelGee in Borisov District, Minsk Oblast on 19 January, BelTA has learned.

The head of state was told that Belarus’ automobile manufacturing industry demonstrates good performance as a whole. For instance, in 2023 it achieved the highest export volume in more than 20 years. A large-scale investment program is being implemented, including with the assistance of Russia, which is now very interested in products of the Belarusian automobile industry and is ready to finance the relevant projects. Because Belarus has manufacturing facilities and specialists with certain competences.

“We should exploit the opportunity. There is a market and we are in demand,” the president said. “They want to do business with us. We have competences. We have preserved them. We have to grab the chance. Moreover, they give us money and want us to make things.”

Belarusian electric vehicles enjoy a strong demand on the market as well. Two pilot projects are being implemented in the country to switch passenger transportation to electric vehicles in Zhodino and in Shklov District. The projects provide for developing the relevant infrastructure. The projects are supposed to be completed and the relevant electric vehicles are supposed to be delivered in Q1 2024. The goal is to gradually increase the use of electricity for passenger transportation, reduce air pollution, and put the country’s available competences in the field of production of electric vehicles and charging stations into practice.

“It is the right thing to do. We have to show these prospects to people on the ground and we should work in this direction,” the head of state said.

Specialists said that manufacturers of electric vehicles have enough contracts for the current year and are now signing contracts for the year 2025. Their products enjoy a strong demand.

“It means I was right when the decision to build a bus factory was made. We just have to build it faster while the demand lasts,” the president remarked.

Speaking about automobile manufacturing in Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke figuratively and said “we are like a bird that flies with one and a half wings instead of one wing.” He explained that Belarus makes trucks, dump trucks, and buses but car manufacturing is less developed. “We need a car as part of this lineup. For the people. We need to reach out to every person. The waiting list is crazy. People want to buy these cars. It is the job of the government and the minister to satisfy this demand come hell or high water. We should satisfy this demand. Otherwise, competition will take our place. This is why it is necessary to increase the output of cars as much as possible,” the head of state stressed.

Car manufacturing is developing mainly in two directions in Belarus. SZAO BelGee is the first one. Cooperation with the Chinese car maker FAW for the sake of making Hongqi brand cars is another one that has been opened recently.

Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the importance of advancing cooperation with Chinese partners, who have modern competences in the field of automobile manufacturing.

But Belarusian manufacturers need to resolve one issue – manufacturing localization. “We need to make more ourselves,” the president said.

The president’s helicopter landed in the territory of the BelGee factory. A large parking lot containing ready cars is nearby. This is why Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered why there is a waiting list for buying these cars while the local stock in storage is overflowing. 

The head of state was assured that the cars in the parking lot represent only three days of the company’s output. The products get shipped to customers both in Belarus and Russia. Dealerships in Belarus now have about 800 cars.

Efforts to create Belarusian cars in Belarus focus on several fields at present.

SZAO BelGee is at the forefront of these efforts. The company has been licensed to make the X50 car model. Work has been organized to substitute a number of imported automobile components and materials with Belarusian ones. The company intends to get licenses to make two more models (X70, S50) in 2024. A plan on modernizing the car factory to increase its output capacity up to 120,000 cars while operating in two shifts is being authorized.

The licenses to make X50, X70, and S50 car models will allow stepping up the substitution of imported automobile components and ultimately creating competences for not only making cars but also for designing and modernizing them.

An X50 car has been handed over to the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for the sake of creating a Belarusian electric car. Once design work is over, SZAO BelGee will take care of batch production of the Belarusian electric car.

The production of Hongqi cars (a brand of the Chinese company FAW) at premises of the Belarusian company ZAO Unison represents a new direction in the development of the Belarusian car manufacturing industry. The current agreements will enable not only semi-knocked down (SKD) assembly but also completely knocked down (CKD) assembly of cars with consequent localization of manufacturing of individual nodes and components.

On the whole, automobile production in Belarus develops rapidly in various areas.
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