This is the second most important industrial sector in Poland, so its fluctuations affect the performance of the whole economy. Car production fell in January to its lowest level since June 2020 and was more than half the level of a year earlier. The production of auto parts looked better.
The largest industrial sector in Poland is the production of food products – last year it accounted for 16 percent of sold products, and in January 2021 – 15.8 percent. – according to GUS data. But in second place is the automotive sector with a 10.4 percent share in industry output in January and 9.5 percent last year.
The problem is that the production of passenger cars in Polish factories, which slowly returned to the “pre-pandemic” norm in the second half of the year, collapsed again in January. Only 18 thousand vehicles were produced. This is the lowest number since June last year. This is also less than last year’s monthly average (23 thousand), and yet in April and May factories were closed in the face of falling global demand.
The data was already weak in December when 20.5 thousand new cars left Polish factories compared to 29.5 thousand a year earlier, but January turned out to be even worse. Interestingly, however, the slowdown does not affect car parts factories.
As far as engines are concerned, after a very good second half of the year, when Polish factories produced 930,000 of them, i.e. by 26% more year-on-year, in January the production dropped, but by only 2% year-on-year.
Car batteries, which are the basis of the rapidly growing segment of electric car production, were manufactured in January 600 thousand, i.e. by 8.1% more year-on-year. In the whole of last year, there was no apparent slowdown in this segment, and production in Poland increased by 3.9% to 6.4 million units. By comparison, production in Germany increased by 12.2 percent last year, and in France and Italy, there were declines of 9.3 and 6.5 percent respectively.
Finally, the production of car tires in Poland also grew. In January, 2.96 million were produced, close to the historical record of 3.03 million set in October last year. After a slump in the industry in April and May, factories have been recording increased production since August, exceeding 2019 results month after month.