Polish car output halves but recovery visible

Polish passenger car production fell -48.5% on-year in the first half of 2020 to only 122,600 units, according to data from Poland’s Central Statistical Office (GUS) monitored by Kallanish.

Output had risen in January and February after a disappointing 2019, but was curtailed from March onwards, with May and June seeing particularly steep on-year drops of -48% and -49% respectively. This was a result of the Covid-19 pandemic impact on the European automotive industry, which has exacerbated already weakened demand from the sector last year. This has seen increased competition among regional auto sheet suppliers who have been forced to find new buyers.

In 2019 Polish car output fell -3.7% on-year to 434,700 units, its lowest since 2003.

Production of commercial vehicles, including trucks and tractors, slumped -36% in H1 to 75,759 units. In 2019 it had hit a new annual record of 207,802 units.

Public transport vehicle output, meanwhile, fell -23% in H1 to 2,761 units, following an annual record 7,362 units in 2019.

Overall Polish automotive production thus slumped -44% in H1 to 201,120 units.

The outlook is more positive, however. Poland’s overall industrial production rose 1.1% on-year in July compared to expectations of a -2% fall. This was helped by a 0.6% growth in the automotive sector. Polish production growth of electric appliances nevertheless slowed to 7.1% last month. “Industrial activity, alongside labour market developments, underlines that the recovery after the first Covid-19 wave continues faster than expected,” ING bank says of Polish industry.