Poland will get ten new automotive industry project EUR95m, then Finance and Development Minister (now Prime Minister) Mateusz Morawiecki said in early December. His comments came as automotive giant Toyota announced it would invest millions in producing a new-generation petrol engine at a plant, with production of a 1.5-litre engine set to start in 2020 in Jelcz-Laskowice, in south-western Poland. Toyota is also setting up a research and development center in Poland.
In an interview with PAP news agency, Morawiecki said the automotive industry “is becoming a branch of the economy which is building the foundations for solid growth in Poland in the years ahead. More than ten new projects will appear in the automotive sector in Poland over the next two months, the total value of which will be about PLN400m.” Morawiecki said Toyota’s announcement “confirms that our country is a very good place for investors.”
Toyota Motor Europe announced plans in early 2017 to build a new EUR145m plant in Poland that will produce transaxles for hybrid vehicles and add two engine production lines at an existing plant. The facility will start production in 2018 located at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) in Walbrzych. The investment announcement came a week after Daimler revealed it would spend EUR500m to build a new Mercedes-Benz engine plant in Jawor.
The hybrid transmission to be produced is a key component of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain and will be fitted with the 1.8-liter ZR engine. This hybrid powertrain will be used in the European Auris and Auris Touring Sports Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe, as well as the new C-HR crossover when it starts production at the end of this year. The hybrid transaxle for the Auris hybrids is currently produced at Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan and imported to Europe.
The projects bring Toyota’s total investment of manufacturing operations in Poland to more than $1 billion since operations began in 2002 with the production of diesel engines.
Diesel powertrains have been the preferred choice for personal transportation for decades in Europe. But the market is changing, and a new generation of plug-in hybrids that can operate on electricity, gasoline or both is grabbing the attention of European buyers, adding to the growing numbers of the traditional hybrid vehicle.
Toyota Motor Europe expects its hybrid sales in Europe to increase from its current level of 31% of total sales to a target of 50% by 2020. “We are committed to further strengthen our presence in Poland,” said Eiji Takeichi, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland. “Adding the hybrid production makes our operations sustainable for the future for the benefit of our members and local community.
Automotive on the move
Earlier this year a major automotive supplier – International Automotive Components (IAC) broke ground on a new factory in Poland. IAC moved ahead with construction of a EUR17m plant in Opole, part of the company’s plan to expanding its manufacturing operations in Eastern Europe. IAC Opole covers 290,625 square feet and will be the company’s 27th plant in Europe where it will assemble the growing Eastern European automotive region.
Meanwhile, the Arrinera Hussaraya has moved from an initial prototype to road-legal GT3 race car over eight years of constant reiteration and design. VMI Group also broke ground on its new manufacturing plant in Leszno, Poland.
In the first phase, the company is building a 13,500 sqm facility on its eight hectare plot of land with goal of extending the current manufacturing capabilities of the company. VMI Group now has entities in eight countries on five continents.
South Korea’s LG Chem setting up a battery plant in Poland
South Korea’s LG Chem is seeking to tap Europe’s booming electric-car market by setting up a battery plant in Poland to supply automakers. The company will invest EUR290m in the plant near Wroclaw, southwestern Poland, by 2018 with a plan to manufacture 100,000 batteries annually starting in 2019. They will power electric vehicles with a maximum range of 320 km (200 miles), the Polish development ministry said in a statement. The plant will be the first large-scale automotive lithium battery plant in Europe, LG Chem said in a statement. “We will turn the Poland EV battery plant into a mecca of battery production for electric vehicles around the world,” UB Lee, the head of LG’s energy solution company, said in the statement.