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Poland’s love for cars is nothing to be proud of

Poland’s love for cars is nothing to be proud of

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
19.02.2024 16:30

Poland's number of cars per capita is one of the highest in Europe. Unfortunately, it is not a point of pride.

Poland is known for being a country that loves cars, and this is supported by research conducted by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association ACEA. According to their report "Vehicles on European Roads," Poland has the highest number of passenger cars per 1,000 people in Europe. Additionally, Poland also has the largest number of lorries and buses. However, some may argue whether this is something to be proud of.

Poland - automotive powerhouse or automotive failure?

To begin with, it is important to know that owning a car does not necessarily indicate a high material status. In fact, it is often a basic necessity for a comfortable life and work, especially in many towns and villages across Poland where transportation infrastructure is inadequate. Unlike Poland’s capital, most medium and small-sized cities struggle with communication difficulties. As a result, many households have two or more cars, but even that is sometimes insufficient. For instance, there are cases where students have to hitchhike to school every day.

Despite the "Vehicles on European Roads" report stating that Poland has the most significant number of cars in Europe, it does not mean that they are all of high quality. Most of the vehicles can be described as scrap metal. When we analyse the data based on the age of the cars, Poland falls from the top of the list to the very bottom.

Poland: Graveyard for cars

According to ACEA's 2022 figures, Germany has the highest number of cars on its roads, with almost 48.8 million, followed by Italy with 40.2 million, France with 38.9 million and the UK with 37.1 million. Poland ranks fifth with 26.5 million vehicles; however, when it comes to density, meaning the ratio of cars per thousand inhabitants, Poland leads the rank with a score of 703/1000.

However, this result does not accurately represent the number of cars on Polish roads. In reality, there are almost 200 fewer cars per 1,000 inhabitants. This is because some of the cars no longer in use are still listed in the Central Vehicle and Driver Register database, as they have never been deregistered.

This indicates that Poland is not a major player in the automotive industry at all. And if we consider the age of cars driving on Polish roads, we are far from even the European average

- says Dariusz Balcerzyk, Samar expert for rp.pl.

Poland has one of the oldest car fleets in Europe

The average age of cars in Europe is 12.3 years, but Poland stands out with vehicles that are almost 15 years old on average (14.9 years). Romania also has a similar average, while Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Greece have older cars. On the other hand, Luxembourg has the youngest vehicles with an average of 7.9 years, followed by Austria and Denmark with 8.9 years, and Ireland with 9.1 years.

The Deteriorating condition of used cars on Polish roads

In Poland, a large number of used cars are sold by private sellers who import them from other countries, including Belgium, Germany, and the ones mentioned above. However, many of these cars are in poor condition and may not be roadworthy. The Carfax Europe report suggests that Poland is a market for cars that buyers in other countries usually reject.

The large increase in imports of used cars is bad news for the Polish market because the vast majority of them are over 10 years old and will continue to age, thus worsening the quality of the Polish car fleet

- warns Karolina Topolova of Aures Holdings.

Source: Rzeczpospolita

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