German used car imports soar in Poland

5th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 August 2004 , WARSAW - Since Poland's 1 May entry into the European Union, used car imports from western Europe, notably Germany, have skyrocketed by some 60 percent a month, Poland's Polityka weekly newsmagazine reported. According to the report, an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 used vehicles were imported from May to July, compared to a total of 30,000 in all of 2003. The deluge is the result of customs duties being dropped on cars imported from western Europe, in line with Poland's EU entry. Poland wa

12 August 2004

WARSAW - Since Poland's 1 May entry into the European Union, used car imports from western Europe, notably Germany, have skyrocketed by some 60 percent a month, Poland's Polityka weekly newsmagazine reported.

According to the report, an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 used vehicles were imported from May to July, compared to a total of 30,000 in all of 2003.

The deluge is the result of customs duties being dropped on cars imported from western Europe, in line with Poland's EU entry.

Poland was also required to drop regulations on emissions standards, which had effectively prevented the import of most cars produced before 1996.

Poles buy most cars in Germany, Holland, France and Belgium for under EUR 1,000, but they have also been flocking to fellow EU-newcomer and neighbour Lithuania, where auto-shops specialising in the repair of older vehicles imported from western Europe have sprung up.

Car-buyers eager for a deal can pick and choose at a large market in Mariampol, just 30 kilometres from the Polish border. Used German and Japanese cars are the favourites of Polish buyers.

While motorists are delighted with the low prices, the influx of used vehicles is also cause for concern: auto market analysts warn that older cars, often in poor repair, are likely to pose a safety hazard on Poland's narrow and bumpy roads.

And, the report notes, once they come to the end of the highway, disposal and recycling costs are also likely to strain the public purse.

To avoid the problem, Polish car market experts suggest Poland should impose an "ecotax" on used car imports.

According to a recent European Commission report, Poland enjoys the cheapest pre-tax auto prices on new cars in the European Union, while the highest prices were to be found in neighbouring Germany.

This has led to the development of a distinctive pattern in cross-border car market traffic: while Poles are heading west for bargain used cars, Germans are flocking east to save on new vehicles.

Those very cars will likely be brought back to Poland in the coming years by Poles seeking bargain used cars in Germany, analysts note.

DPA

Subject: German news

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