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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 28, 2013
Business & Economy
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Car Parts: A Polish Specialty
May 28, 2013   
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Car parts and accessories have replaced whole cars as the No. 1 specialty of the Polish automotive sector.

Due to the crisis, car production in Poland last year was a third lower than in 2008. On the other hand, production of automotive parts and accessories has increased by half over the past five years.

“Poland’s automotive industry has undergone a transformation in the last few years: it’s auto parts, and not cars themselves, that are now the main strength of the Polish automotive sector,” says Paweł Gos, CEO of Exact Systems, a provider of quality control systems for the automotive industry. “At the moment, there are only three automakers in Poland, while car parts and accessories are manufactured by nearly 1,000 businesses. As a result, these two market segments differ vastly in terms of the number of jobs created: the part and accessory segment outnumbers the car assembly segment by 4 to 1 when it comes to employment.”

Statistics confirm that the overall condition of the Polish automotive industry is increasingly dependent on the market for car parts. According to automotive market research company Samar, just over 635,000 cars were produced in Poland last year, down from almost 1 million five years ago. At the same time, the auto part market has expanded by more than 50 percent, offsetting negative trends in other segments of the Polish automotive sector.

Last year, production of automotive parts and accessories decreased by around 5 percent for the first time in five years in year-on-year terms to around zl.49 billion, according to Jacek Opala, Business Development Director at Exact Systems. But in view of the more than 20 percent decline in car production as well as lower consumer demand and difficult macroeconomic conditions, this drop was moderate, Opala said.

Data on Polish automotive industry exports by Automotivesuppliers.pl further attests to the predominance of car parts over whole cars. Even though the overall value of exports in 2008 and 2012 was roughly the same, at 17.6 billion euros, their breakdown changed significantly. Last year, revenue from shipping whole cars abroad (at 5.5 billion euros) was lower than that from exporting parts and components (at 6.6 billion euros). Five years ago the opposite situation was true: the value of car exports was higher than the value of auto part exports.

According to Gos of Exact Systems, the Polish automotive industry will continue to decline this year due to factors including the difficult economic situation across the European Union, especially in countries that are Poland’s major business partners, such as Germany and Italy. Another factor will be a changing approach to production in favor of the quality of manufactured goods at the expense of volume. “This changing approach is confirmed by the growing interest in quality control systems among component suppliers: this interest is growing at an average rate of 17 percent annually,” Gos said.
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