New Car Sales In Poland Rose In 2006

Ends decade-long slump in sales.

The number of new cars sold in Poland in 2006 increased by 1.5% compared with the previous year, ending a decade-long slump, data showed Jan. 23. Sales hit 238,993 last year, said statistics compilation agency Samar, which bases its figures on data collected from showrooms.

The Volkswagen group's Skoda line of automobiles was the most popular make of car in Poland, with 28,783 vehicles sold -- an increase of 4.1% compared with 2005. The eponymous Volkswagen brand did even better, with a 21.8% increase in sales to 15,135.

Overall second on the list was the Japanese carmaker Toyota, with an 8.5% increase in sales to 27,884. It was followed by Opel, the German arm of U.S. auto giant General Motors, which increased its sales by 10.1% to 24,942.

However, Samar said, several other leading carmakers faced a decline. Fourth-placed Fiat of Italy sold 24,284 vehicles, or 0.9% than in 2005, while Ford's sales dropped by 5% to 17,712. Renault faced a fall of 4.6%, selling 15,484 cars, while its national counterpart Peugeot saw sales drop 1.4%t to 14,934.

Sales of new cars in Poland have gone through a rocky period over previous years, with the downturn blamed on various factors including rising excise taxes, high interest rates and increasing fuel prices. The decline eased somewhat in 2002, but sales hit a 14-year low in 2005, when they fell 26% compared with 2004. That downturn was blamed in part on a huge rise in the number of used cars imported from western Europe following Poland's accession to the EU in May 2004.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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