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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 21, 2009
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Car Market Defies European Slump
January 21, 2009   
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10 billion euros is how much foreign direct investment will flow into Poland this year, according to the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ).

Despite an auto market slump across Europe, car sales in Poland rose by 10.7 percent to 27,100 units in November 2008 over October, and by 9.3 percent over November 2007, according to data by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. In the first 11 months of 2008, a total of 290,300 cars were sold in Poland, the association says.

In November 2008, new-car registrations in Europe fell by more than 25 percent, but the Polish market has resisted the trend thanks to promotional sales, attractive prices, and the prospect of a higher excise tax on some cars. Poland is the only large country in Europe that recorded increased car sales in November, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association says.

Europe's largest market, Germany, recorded a 17.7-percent drop in sales in November. In France car sales dropped by more than 14 percent, in Italy they fell by almost 30 percent, in Britain by 37 percent, and in Spain by 50 percent.

The market shrank even in Romania, where car sales in the first 11 months of 2008 were higher than in Poland. In November, car sales in Romania decreased by 53.1 percent, with Romanian dealerships selling 50 percent cars less than their Polish counterparts.

Only two marques, Audi and Jaguar, showed higher sales across Europe in November. Their sales went up by 0.1 and 1.2 percent respectively. All other makes reported decreases. Chrysler and Land Rover were hit the hardest, their sales falling by more than 50 percent. Saab and Lexus declined by 45 and 44 percent respectively.

A growing number of car makers, even those in Russia-until recently considered to be the most promising auto market in this part of the world-are announcing production breaks. General Motors and Toyota are planning production stoppages in their Russian plants.

The world's largest car manufacturers are also withdrawing from sponsoring sports. Honda has withdrawn from taking part in Formula 1 races, and Suzuki and Subaru have withdrawn from world car rally championships.
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