The figures shown in the table were collected by Poland's Chief Statistical Office --GUS (note: there is a substantial difference between these figures and U.S. statistics on exports to Poland. GUS information may not be complete and their tables do not offer comprehensive information on this industry sector).
The market for automobile parts and components has grown significantly over the past several years. Investments by some of the world's major car manufacturers (Fiat, General Motors-Opel, and Volkswagen) have significantly expanded the market for car parts. This trend stopped in 2009, when the global economic crisis affected the Polish economy.
The last official statistical reporting available as of January 2010 cites over 16 million passenger cars registered in Poland as of December 31, 2008. This number is estimated to grow by nearly 10% to approximately 18 million registered autos by 2010.
Official statistics report approximately 320,000 new cars sold in Poland in 2009; the same number as in 2008. This figure is misleading however, since the number of new cars registered for 2009 did not account for 45,000 cars. It is thought that neighboring automobile shoppers from Germany came to Poland in significant numbers to purchase new cars in 2009 mainly because of the more advantageous pricing. Hence, experts assume that the Polish market for new cars actually declined in Poland in 2009 by 13.5%.
Used Car Market in Poland
In 2007, Poles imported 994,584 used cars, with slightly more – 1,103,970 – brought in during 2008. 2009 registered a steep decline of over 63% in the number of used cars imported into Poland, an estimated 700,000. In recent past, the number of vehicles produced in Poland regularly increased every year - 2005 production reached 527,000; 2006 – 608,919; 2007 – 761,920; and in 2008 – 864,174. But the number remained relatively flat in 2009 at 833,314. Fiat is the largest producer (53.15% of the market), followed by GM-Opel (19.9%), FSO and Volkswagen. Almost 97% of the cars produced in Poland are exported.
Poles buy much smaller cars than Americans do and tend to keep them much longer. The average age of a car in Poland is 13.9 years. Unlike in the U.S., cars in Poland are almost exclusively equipped with manual gearboxes and diesel fuel engines are popular to a much greater degree. Over 65% of registered cars are gasoline fueled, 18% - diesel, 13.5% - LPG. There is no information available for the remaining 2.9%.
Poland has also attracted significant foreign capital investing in car parts production in Poland (Delphi, TRW, Gates, Lear, Suzuki, Goodyear, Michelin and others).
EU regulations called “Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation” (or in German GVO) concerning the sales of new cars, service, and sales of car parts introduced in 2002 lowered the prices of aftermarket parts and service. Poland fully adopted these regulations on November 1, 2004. These regulations will expire throughout the EU in May 2010. The European Commission is currently (until February 10, 2010) consulting new regulations that should come into effect at the beginning of June 2010.
The Polish automotive industry accounts for approximately 14% of Poland’s total exports and expected to increase. The value of automotive parts exports reached $8376 million in 2008 although after the crisis it declined to an estimated $6230 million in 2009. Polish car parts imports reached $6248 million in 2008 and are estimated to reach $4080 million in 2009. Germany and Italy were the largest suppliers. U.S. exports to Poland reached $70.1 million in 2008. Once again, the global economic crisis caused this figure to decline 33% in 2009 to an estimated $47 million.
American automobile parts and accessories enjoy an excellent reputation for reliability and quality in Poland. Major American brands of car parts and accessories are well known and received in Poland.
The total annual market for car parts is estimated at $4.8 billion for 2009 and is supplied by local production as well as imports from mainly other European Union (EU) countries. The U.S. share of the market is marginal and amounts to less than 1 percent. Due to recent changes in EU legislation and Polish accession to the EU, U.S. aftermarket producers gained a somewhat larger share of the market in Poland (in 2006 it was only 0.75 percent).
Most Polish companies attend the German Trade Show Automechanika, held every other year in Frankfurt, to follow developments in the sector. U.S. Commercial Service Warsaw promotes a U.S. Pavilion at this event among Polish firms. U.S. suppliers are encouraged to take part in this bi-annual trade show. A number of Polish companies visit the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week Show held annually in November in Las Vegas. U.S. companies seeking contacts with Polish visitors should email Joanna Chomicka of CS Warsaw (Joanna.Chomicka@mail.doc.gov) to receive a list of registered visitors prior to the show. Aftermarket parts, especially for passenger cars with European specifications, accessories, engine parts, body parts, air conditioning systems, tuning products and equipment are good export opportunities for U.S. manufacturers. Major Polish car parts importers offer their products directly to service stations and supermarket chains, as well as to individual retail shops.
Service Station equipment, testing and diagnostic equipment, diagnostic equipment for electronic systems, wheel alignment equipment represents a growth market for U.S. exporters. Imports account for more than half of the market for automotive service equipment. The single biggest supplier of service station equipment to Poland is Germany, followed by Italy, France and the UK. All major world-known producers are present on the Polish market. Demand for repair and diagnostic equipment is driven by Polish regulations requiring all automobiles to pass a technical inspection three years after the initial date of sale. The next inspection is done after two more years and then on an annual basis. Supporting increasing sales of automotive service equipment is the significant import of used cars, which often need urgent repair before registration.
Investment - this sector has already attracted U.S. investors active in the auto parts industry in Poland, including: Delphi, TRW, Gates, Lear, Eaton, Federal Mogul, Tenneco, Visteon and others. These companies cooperate with local car manufacturers such as Opel, Fiat, and Volkswagen and cooperate as well with Polish-owned Tier 2 and Tier 3 parts suppliers. Foreign investors choose to locate their auto parts production in Poland mainly due to the following factors: advantageous geographical location, investment incentives, extensive supplier network, and a young and highly skilled labor force. Interested investors should contact Polish PAIiZ for specific opportunities.