The Polish car market

Date of publication: April 1, 1995


In the 1989-1993 period, a profound revolution transformed the car market in Poland. In parallel to an economic bust and a drop in real incomes, the number of registered passenger cars grew by. Most of the newly registered vehicles were second-hand, privately imported cars from the West. This lead to a 10% increase in the share of Western cars in the total of privately owned cars. An influential factor behind this private import was the stereotype of "Western equals better" - this being regardless of brand, playing a secondary role. All Western brands are rated higher than in domestic and East European. The stereotype of a monolith group of "Western better" is now becoming differentiated by individual brand image. The public opinion's favorites are Mercedes and BMW, also highly regarded are other brands held to be German. The transformation in Poland led to a change in brand perception and consumer behavior. FIAT's investments led to an appreciation of domestically manufactured cars. German brands continue with their stable high standing, and Japanese and French brands clearly improved their image. East European brands are depreciated. The distinction into "domestic inferior - imported better" is subsiding. The emotional approach is losing ground to rational behavior. Buying decisions are most strongly dependent on price, exploitation costs, safety concerns. When those values are more or less equal - it is the brand image that decides.

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