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Downfall of motor industry in Poland


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #1
The Polonez was the last even nominally Polish car produced in Poland. It looks as though even the FSO car factory in Warsaw will soon be no more. The same has occurred in a such a one-time car power as Britain. What actually happened to caused such well-known marques (Morris, Austin, MG, Hillman, Wolsley, Humber et al) to go under?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,900
1 Nov 2010 #2
What actually happened to caused such well-known marques (Morris, Austin, MG, Hillman, Wolsley, Humber et al) to go under?

Bad management and a lack of will to actually sell cars.

Likewise, the FSO produced cars were notoriously rubbish.
jonni 16 | 2,485
1 Nov 2010 #3
It looks as though even the FSO car factory in Warsaw will soon be no more

It seemed quite empty and quiet the other day.

What actually happened to caused such well-known marques (Morris, Austin, MG, Hillman, Wolsley, Humber et al) to go under?

Bad marketing and quality largely, plus the things Delphi mentioned.

A lot of cars are built in the UK for other companies - this seems to work. Maybe that's the way forward for Poland.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,900
1 Nov 2010 #4
It's not such a bad idea, but I suppose there's the old problem that as labour costs continue to rise, it'll become uneconomic to build them in Poland. Mind you, VW seem to be absolutely pouring money into Poznan at the minute.

Where the UK has really dropped the ball is with not attracting more high-end manufacturers - I don't think there's room (or the need) for a British mass production company, but the UK should definitely be the home of lots more high end brands.
jonni 16 | 2,485
1 Nov 2010 #5
Yes. Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin etc trade on their British connection, despite being largely foreign. Polish cars had the reputation (and benefit) of being cheap and cheerful. Unfortunately Japanese, Korean, Malaysian cars are cheaper and more cheerful.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #6
Wasn't it also the tortoise (as opposed to the hare) examel of the Orientals. Slowly, patiently, through hard work and low pay the Japs turned from a country making bar trinkets (like those little cocktail umbrellas), junky toys and tinnny, little Datsuns that reminded Americans of wind-up toy cars to an industrial super-power. The Koreans were next. Now China is flexing its motorcar muscle. American carmakers committed the sin of complacence and arrogance by neglecting research and technical innovations, building traditional oversized, overpowered rear-wheel-drive vehicles long after they had become obsolete world-wide. Another thing were the greedy trade unions that kept jacking up pay demands beyond the level of cost efficiency. Were things the same in the UK?
jonni 16 | 2,485
1 Nov 2010 #7
Another thing were the greedy trade unions that kept jacking up pay demands beyond the level of cost efficiency. Were things the same in the UK?

More a reluctance to work for subsistence wages combined with atrocious and reactive management.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #8
Now everybody in the Detroit area is shaking in their boots over possible job loss, but at one time employees of the Big 3 (Chrysler, GM & Ford) were the working-class elite who outearned many other professions.
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #9
There were some good ideas in Poland but the cars never went into production.



I like Syrena Sport and FSO Wars but I think the most interesting was Beskid,some say it was later copied by Renault (Twingo).Oh and they also say Lada Samara is a FSO Wars (engines line is the same as the one in Wars was to be.
jonni 16 | 2,485
1 Nov 2010 #10
employees of the Big 3 (Chrysler, GM & Ford) were the working-class elite who outearned many other professions.

I remember hearing about the Ford Company and its benefits for workers. In the UK, that didn't really happen and there was endless conflict. The FSO company treated its staff fairly well, but their business model couldn't really cope with competition.

There were some good ideas in Poland

You can still see a few Syreny around warsaw, most heavily restored.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
1 Nov 2010 #11
American carmakers committed the sin of complacence and arrogance by neglecting research and technical innovations, building traditional oversized, overpowered rear-wheel-drive vehicles long after they had become obsolete world-wide.

This is quite true.

Another thing were the greedy trade unions that kept jacking up pay demands beyond the level of cost efficiency.

You hit the nail again with this. Our greedy labor union thugs have destroyed countless industries here, causing companies to ship jobs overseas ...then they blame Republicans. :s

their business model couldn't really cope with competition

Because of the unions.
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #12
Polonius3:
American carmakers committed the sin of complacence and arrogance by neglecting research and technical innovations, building traditional oversized, overpowered rear-wheel-drive vehicles long after they had become obsolete world-wide.
This is quite true.

No it's not.They were builiding what Americans wanted to buy.They still say they don't make any money builiding small cars.
trener zolwia 1 | 940
1 Nov 2010 #13
Well, the Arab oil embargo of the 70's changed the auto industry forever. Then the Japs first surpassed us in sales way back in the 80's and it took the American makers awhile to catch on and adjust their product line.
Richfilth 6 | 415
1 Nov 2010 #14
What actually happened to caused such well-known marques (Morris, Austin, MG, Hillman, Wolsley, Humber et al) to go under?

Out of all those names, you've only actually identified two companies; the BMC/British Leyland group which contained the marques of Austin, Morris, MG and Wolseley (along with Vanden-Plas and Riley), and the Rootes Group of Humber and Hillman (also Singer and Sumbeam.) Both companies were crippled by badge-engineering their product in the same marketplace, without cutting down on management, parts supply, servicing or sales. Essentially, all six BMC brands were competing with eachother to sell the same car. This is why, despite the ADO16 being Britain's biggest selling car for 12 out of 13 years, Ford calculated that the company made a loss of 90 pounds on EVERY SINGLE UNIT. That is mismanagement on a catastrophic level.

No it's not.They were builiding what Americans wanted to buy.They still say they don't make any money builiding small cars.

It was Henry Ford himself who said "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." The main issue of American construction is that, even five years ago, it was taking them 40 hours to produce each car when Toyota was achieving the same feat in only 25. That's monumental inefficiency, mainly caused by union demands. The current Ford boss has managed to fire 180,000 people, shut down a number of factories and got production up to 85% efficiency, but it's taken this crisis to get them that far and even then their cars aren't exactly technological marvels.

If you compare Polish vehicle construction during Communism (FSO, FSM, FSR, FST, FSD), and compared that to the number of foreign factories and how many people they employ, you might be pleasantly surprised. There's no need for Poland to have a specifically Polish car when, in a few years time, its roads will be boringly European and as such, will suit all the blandwagons currently being produced by Fiat and Opel inside Poland.
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #15
There's no need for Poland to have a specifically Polish car when, in a few years time, its roads will be boringly European and as such, will suit all the blandwagons currently being produced by Fiat and Opel inside Poland.

It still would be nice to have one.Right now all "we" have is Solaris Bus@Coach and I truly admire Mr.Olszewski for creating a Polish brand from nothing.
Richfilth 6 | 415
1 Nov 2010 #16
What about the stolen Polish design that Renault have been using for a while (Beskid 106/Renault Twingo)? Or those handmade sports cars? I'm terrible with names, but I'm sure car people will know who/what I'm talking about
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #17
What about the stolen Polish design that Renault have been using for a while?

You probably talking about FSM Beskid.
...
But the design wasn't stolen,I've read the patent expired.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #18
Politics has been the bane of the Polish motor industry from the very outset. Not only in PRL.
An up-and-coming Polish-conceived car was driven out of business in the 1930s, when Fiat of Italy agreed to sell the Polish government a licence on condition that the native competition be eliminated.
Richfilth 6 | 415
1 Nov 2010 #19
Polonius, that sort of practice has been in manufacturing for centuries. And be fair, without the special relationship between Italy and Poland both before and after the war, there'd never have been the Maly and Duzy Fiats, or the "Blekitna Fala" trains.

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD80

Bear in mind, FSO sold its plans for the Warszawa 210 to Wartburg, and used the funds to buy those Fiat plans for the 125/126. Deals like this aren't always bad...
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #20
It's a shame that 40 milion nation in the heart of Europe doesn't have at least one car brand.Everyone else does even smaller nations.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #21
The Czechs really lucked out and under VW are producing some fine budget-priced cars. One uncle has a Fabia and is full of praise. At least the Czechs are upholding a long-standing motor traditon under their own marque. Poles are now only able to churn out foreign brands of German and Italian design. Of course, it's better than nothing, but......
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #22
That sux.What about URSUS brand?"Solidarnosc" managed to destroy almost everything Polish.
Richfilth 6 | 415
1 Nov 2010 #23
Everyone else does even smaller nations.

Denmark? Portugal? Ireland? (hahaha, no, the Delorean doesn't count.)

The days of small-time hand-wrought motors died with World War II; harping back to the days of solid chassis, overhead-valve engines and dynamos is a lost cause. Old men in overalls with toothbrush moustaches will never be able to compete with the Volkswagen Audi Group and to be honest, I wouldn't want them to. Have you ever driven a Syrena? Seriously? Mine was the most hateful piece of machinery ever constructed, and was put together in 1982; the same time as Volkswagen were making the Golf GTI and Renault the 5 (Supercinq). Even the Austin Metro was a better car, and that was built during yet another British bankruptcy.

Poland is a very creative nation, especially when it comes to getting around laws, but technical excellence and engineering are not key principles in this country, fortunately.
mafketis 23 | 7,826
1 Nov 2010 #24
It's a shame that 40 milion nation in the heart of Europe doesn't have at least one car brand.Everyone else does even smaller nations.

Enough Polish people have a 'never buy Polish' attitude that doesn't support industry.

I think the Czech attitude is 'support local industry so it can improve' while the Polish attitude is 'it has to improve before it can be supported'.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,900
1 Nov 2010 #25
Old men in overalls with toothbrush moustaches will never be able to compete with the Volkswagen Audi Group

This is the problem - the same old men expect to be given subsidies so that they can try to compete. The utter disaster of Solidarność management should tell you all you need to know - I've even seen proof of how they "manage" in the Ciegelski factory in Poznan. Needless to say, they're stuck in the dark ages.

Enough Polish people have a 'never buy Polish' attitude that doesn't support industry.

I think they will buy Polish if the product is every bit as good as in the West - the problem is that the products often aren't. Solaris must be one of the very few exceptions?
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
1 Nov 2010 #26
Was it Solidarność or Balzermann & Co. that destroyed Polish industry by equating privatisation with rigged tenders and cheap sell-offs to foreign capital (for presumably under-the-table gratuities)?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,900
1 Nov 2010 #27
It was Solidarność's management in the ones that had sentimental value to Poland.

Ciegelski even managed to make a huge mess out of not being able to build good enough engines for marine use - at a time when the world is screaming for good engines!
Pinching Pete - | 558
1 Nov 2010 #28
The current Ford boss has managed to fire 180,000 people, shut down a number of factories and got production up to 85% efficiency,

Yes.. fire the ones that get drunk on the job , reading Playboys, spend an hour defecating and such.. and miraculously efficiency goes up as do sales. Ford is doing nicely globally. American cars aren't inherently bad .. it's the UAW unions. The same kind of entity that f###s up a lot of European industry.
grubas 12 | 1,391
1 Nov 2010 #29
Denmark? Portugal? Ireland?

They are little nations on the periferies of Europe(no offence meant).

Solaris must be one of the very few exceptions?

I am hoping it is the begining of revival of POLISH motor industry.

Have you ever driven a Syrena?

Hehe I never did.But I am going to get myself a maluch soon.

Was it Solidarność or Balzermann & Co. that destroyed Polish industry

Phucking crimminals."We" were building cars,ships,trains and planes and now what?Supermarkets?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,900
1 Nov 2010 #30
You do realise that most of those industries were heavily, heavily subsidised by Western and Soviet credits, solely to provide employment on a mass level and that hardly any of it was profitable in its own right?

The fact that Solidarność couldn't even do anything with debt-free industries like the shipyards tells you all you need to know about them.

I am hoping it is the begining of revival of POLISH motor industry.

Maybe, it certainly represents what Poland is capable of. Solaris has succeeded because of one reason - no moustaches. Look at the sulking from Ciegelski over the Poznan trams order - Solaris was cheaper and better, but only because Solidarność have little to no hold there.

Funnily enough, Solaris has a much better reputation among young people, because they actually do provide experience to young people without demanding that they get involved in moustache-politics.


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