15:52 27.12.2023

Etalon Corporation plans to maintain bus production in 2024 at 2023 level

4 min read
Etalon Corporation plans to maintain bus production in 2024 at 2023 level

The vehicle manufacturer Etalon Corporation already has a configuration base for the production of 300 buses by 2024, which will allow them to maintain their production almost at the level of 2023, said the president of the corporation, Volodymyr Butko.

“I can say that we have a complete set base for the bus plant for 2024 for 300 buses. In addition, we want to tell all customers that we have a complete set for almost the same quantity that we produced this year. Yes, the set is still incomplete, it’s about 30% of the total cost, but this is already a lot. So we are ready to work, the start is already there,” he said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Wednesday.

At the same time, Butko clarified that as of January 2, 2024, the plant begins work in the new year.

Assessing the results of 2023, the president of the corporation noted that this year the corporation's enterprises operated more stably compared to 2022, when it was necessary to restore factories that were destroyed because of the bombing of the city. At the enterprises (Chernihiv Automotive Plant, Ukrainian Kardan and Forging Plant), wages have increased by 30-50% and are paid on time, but the number of employees has been halved compared to the pre-war period - to 600 people.

At the same time, Chernihiv Automotive Plant began operating at full capacity in June, when the implementation of the School Bus program began, Butko noted, and for the next year the plant’s capacity was ensured due to this program.

According to him, more than UAH 200 million has already been invested in repairs and restoration of working conditions (in total, the damage caused to enterprises is estimated at EUR 30 million).

Butko also noted that the corporation completed nine months of the current year without losses, but it is too early to talk about the results of the year.

“The ideology here is simple – survival,” he emphasized.

Among the internal problems, the president of the corporation noted, first of all, personnel problems.

“The problem is people, and above all mobilization. Therefore, we are increasing the number of women in jobs that are permitted by labor legislation and, although not en masse, we are attracting specialists of retirement age, over 60 years old,” Butko said.

The second problem, he said, was logistics.

“We received many components through our Ukrainian ports, now we receive them through others, and delivery from foreign ports by land is very difficult for various reasons. You know what is happening in Poland, and from Romania the road is also, say, not strewn with flowers. And today’s routes (throughout Ukraine) are under shelling and bombing every day,” Butko noted.

The third internal problem, he said, is the lack of a commercial transport market in Ukraine, which, although it “shows signs of life,” cannot be called a market.

“There is only one external problem - the war and the lack of investors, foreign buyers of our products. We had plans for cooperation with Poland, which today have not been implemented due to the war. Many programs were curtailed, and this problem affected us. Including pause until the end of the war, all issues related to investments. And not only in our enterprises,” Butko emphasized, adding that the corporation has signed many contracts with a delay in the start of their validity.

“Therefore, we hope that we will have a good start after the end of the war,” summed up the president of the corporation.

Butko noted that some hope for support for Ukrainian manufacturers is given by the results of the meeting of First Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko with business on December 20, where a number of tools for such support were proposed (including a program to stimulate demand for new buses).

Etalon Corporation includes 21 enterprises, including Chernihiv Automotive Plant, which produces buses of various classes and trolleybuses. The main directions are production of motor vehicles, mechanical engineering, and warehouse logistics.

According to the director of the plant, Oleksandr Verkhulevsky, in 2023 the plant produced 300 school buses and 20 city buses.