Poland has a long, if not especially proud, tradition of car-building.
Most widely known (and mocked) are the products of FSO – Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych. This company was formed in 1951.
FSO built the Warsawa from 1951 to 1973 – the white car is the original, the blue one is an elderly later model 223.
The Syrena was built from 1957 to 1983.
Under a licence agreement signed late in 1965, FSO began building a version of a Fiat 125 – the Polski-Fiat/FSO 125 so beloved of British jokers.
The FSO 125 remained in production until 1991.
Although the FSO 125 had a long run, fashions did change and it was re-bodied in 1978 to become the (parallel) FSO Polonez. That car remained in production until 2002 – much later than many westerners would think – as the Caro.
FSO, the company, was privatised post-communism and for a number of years built Daewoos and Chevrolets. The last car of the FSO line was a Chevrolet Aveo, rolled off the line late in 2011.
Fiat has, for many years, built cars in Poland for the local and wider market – lower costs than their Italian factories. FSM, Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych, was formed in the early 1970s by Fiat and FSO, initially for the production of the Fiat 126p
The FSM factory in Tychy produced successive versions of the 126 and, for a time, FSO Syrenas. The last 126 left the line in 2000.
Having been taken over by Fiat in 1991, the factories of FSM/Fiat Auto Poland have produced:
Fiat Cinquecento (1991 – 1998 at Tychy)
Fiat Uno (1994 – 2002 at Bielsko-Biała and Tychy)
Fiat Seicento (1998 – 2009, at Tychy)
Fiat Siena (1997 – 2001 at Bielsko-Biała and Tychy)
Fiat Palio Weekend (1998 – 2004, Bielsko-Biała and Tychy)
Fiat 500 (2007 – present, Tychy)
Ford Ka (2008 – present)
Fiat Nuova Panda (2003 – 2012)
Lancia/Chrysler Ypsilon (2010 – present)
All Cinquecentos, Seicentos and new Pandas were made in Poland. Polish production of the Panda ended when as a consequence of the agreement between Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Fiat directors not to close any of Fiat’s factories in Italy.
The plant at Bielsko-Biała now produces engines, only.
Not exactly cars, but the Nysa and Zuk were based on the Warsawa, and often found use as family cars later in their lives.
The Nysa was produced in the town of Nysa from 1958 to 1994.
The Zuk, which translates as “beetle” was built in Lublin from 19958 to 1998
General Motors built a new factory in Gliwice, near Katowice, in 1996 – car productions began in 1998.
Cars built at the plant have included:.
Agila I /Suzuki Wagon R
Astra Classic II and Zafira II
And the plant is scheduled to produce the Astra V from 2015.
This relic deserves a place because the final model, the Honker, is still in production.
Arguably, the Polish LandRover, the Tarpan/Honker was designed as a car for agriculture – a farmer’s car.
Production began in Poznan in 1973 and today it’s built in Lublin.