Polish car output continues rebound, demand fears loom

Polish passenger car production rose 6.8% on-year in May to 25,200 units, taking five-month production up 23.5% on-year to 122,000 units, the Polish Automotive Industry Association, PZPM, says citing Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS) figures.

However, production remained below 2021 levels and far below pre-Covid levels, Kallanish notes.

Production of commercial vehicles above 3.5 tonnes nevertheless soared 30.4% in June to 24,698 units, taking five-month production up 68% to 122,920 units. Output in 2023 is on course to exceed 2022 production, which was an annual record.

Public transport vehicle output, meanwhile, grew 22.3% in May to 433 units, taking five-month production up 12.2% to 2,166 units.

In full-year 2022, Polish automotive sector domestic sales rose 25% on-year to a record PLN 207 billion ($52.1 billion). This was also up 29% versus 2019, Santander Bank Polska says in a new report. Production was 484,000 units, up 11% on-year but down 26% on 2019. The first quarter this year saw a 65% on-year production surge.

Higher European automotive production has been driven by a strong backlog of orders, but new orders have been weak. At German carmakers, reduced orders resulted in a decrease in the order portfolio in March to 150% of the 2019 level.

“If these trends continue, there may be a complete contraction of the portfolio over the coming months, followed by a reduction in production due to low demand. Among the factors choking demand have been rising car prices. Producer price indices alone do not fully reflect price developments for final buyers,” says Santander Bank Polska automotive analyst Radosław Pelc.

“Due to the prevailing demand, dealer prices have usually been non-negotiable. In addition, manufacturers offered greater availability of more expensive models, albeit those equipped with alternative drive systems,” he adds.

Adam Smith Poland