Industry Report Poland: Good Results of the Automotive Industry
Even though Poland is yet to have its own car brand, the automotive industry is a very important part of the Polish industry which gives impetus to the whole Polish economy. The country is an important player in the European Union as a supplier of car parts, engines as well as cars.
With the production output amounting to 662 thousand of cars in 2016, Poland ranks 8th in the EU with 3.5 % market share. It is behind the Czech Republic and Slovakia (5th and 7th place in the EU with 7 % and 4.9 % market share respectively), whilst Hungary is just behind Poland (9th place). Altogether, within the group of EU’s leading car manufacturers, there are as many as five countries from Central Europe which are responsible for over 1/5 of the EU’s production output. The fact that in the recent years Poland has lost the competition for foreign investment to its partners from the Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary) does not mean that it has been completely ignored by automotive groups – after all, such producers from the automotive industry as Mercedes Benz, LG Chem or Kongsberg built their factories here.
Gains Greater Than EU’s
The total value of sold production from the automotive enterprises operating in Poland increased by almost 26 % between 2013 and 2016. And if we use the beginning of global economic crisis (2008) as the point of reference, the growth amounts to as much as 71 %. This is one of the best results in the European industry due to the recession caused by the aforementioned crisis.
The data from GUS (Main Statistical Office) suggests that the structure of car manufacturing in Poland changed significantly in 2017 – the overall 2.3 % increase of the number of manufactured cars compared to the previous year consisted of the decrease in the production of personal cars (5.6 %) and the simultaneous significant production growth (by 37.2 %) of trucks, vans and buses.
However, the most dynamic segment of the Polish automotive industry within the last few years was the production of car parts and accessories which since 2011 – when their value exceeded the total value of manufactured ready cars – has been the industry’s showcase example. At the same time, this is suggested by the statistical data from which it emerges that in 2016, the share of car parts and accessories production in the total value of the automotive industry’s production in Poland amounted to 57 %, compared to almost 42 % in 2007.
It can be said that the Polish industry has followed the scenarios which had been previously tested by the automotive companies from Great Britain and Spain where the established national brands were overtaken by international groups which subsequently developed not only the final car production but above all the manufacturing of components and spare parts in these countries. Because manufacturing of automotive components, parts and accessories seems like a safe business option under the Polish conditions, numerous groups of entrepreneurs specialize in deliveries encompassing the following: car accessory elements, rubber parts, consumables, construction elements, rubber-metal parts and metal parts. What is more, many Polish companies provide services within the scope of surface and plunge treatment (galvanizing, carbonizing, nitrogen treatment, painting and varnishing, anti-corrosive coating) and machining.
Poland Backs E-Mobility
The government’s Strategy for Responsible Development, assumes that by 2025, there should be a million cars powered by electricity on Polish roads. Until 2020, the government shall direct the total of PLN 19 billion towards the implementation of the electromobility development programme which encompasses 2 flagship projects: E-bus and electrical car. The first serious step towards achieving this target is the act on electromobility and alternative fuels which was adopted by the Parliament in January 2018. It determines the rules for development and functioning of the infrastructure enabling wide utilization of alternative fuels, mainly electricity, in transport. Further, it envisages the creation of a network of 6,000 standard-power electricity charging points and 400 high-power charging points as well as 70 CNG (compressed natural gas) fuelling points. At the same time, a number of advantages (e. g. tax relieves) are to be introduced for users of electric vehicles.
The e-mobility development plan may constitute one of the factors sustaining the high dynamics of Poland’s economy. It will most certainly contribute to the intensification of scientific research and development works within the fields related to the alternative drive technologies, with big opportunities for their commercialization and implementation. This shall be the automotive industry’s contribution to re-profiling Poland’s economic development which should be increasingly based on knowledge, advanced technologies and innovation.
Popularizing electromobility also means reducing CO2 emission and noise levels, which over a long-term period should lead to decreased costs of treating diseases which are the consequences of polluting the natural environment. There is no doubt that investments into the development of the car manufacturing sector, with the total value of PLN 3 billion as well as the electromobility development programme will contribute to the increase of the already significant impact of the automotive industry upon the economic outlook, export and employment opportunities in Poland.
This article was first published by MM International.
Original: Wojciech Traczyk / Translation: Alexander Stark