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The Polish automotive market did not remain resilient to the global economic crisis in 2012, when falling external and domestic demand impacted downward on output, domestic sales and exports.
The production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles dropped by 23% y/y in 2012, according to market data. The decline sharpened towards yearend, as major producers downsized output in order to adjust to shrinking external demand. Passenger car and LCV production further declined by over 22.7% y/y in January 2013 and is expected to follow the same tendency this year, as demand in the Western Europe continues shrinking.
The sales of new vehicles dropped on an annual comparison last year, as the economic crisis drove individual customers away from new car showrooms, while sales to corporate customers did not manage to offset the decline of the market. On the other hand, the imports of used cars inched up marginally by 0.3% y/y in 2012, as many Poles prefer to buy used cars, encouraged by a system of value-added and excise taxes. Notably, the number of new cars imported was more than double the number of new passenger cars registered last year.
Automotive exports also recorded y/y decline in value terms last year. The automotive parts segment managed to report positive y/y performance, yet exports started shrinking in Q3/2012 for the first time since 2010 and maintained on the same downward path in the following months.
The situation of the Polish automotive sector follows the same downward tendency in the region and prospects for the future are linked to developments on the European markets, considering that the automotive production is export-oriented. On the upside, as the demand from the main partners, Germany and UK, is less vulnerable to abrupt changes, the Polish market remains stable and continues to attract investments in the sector.
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