Polish Fiat factory celebrates 10 millionth
The Fiat-factories in Polish Tychy and Bielsko-Biala have been manufacturing cars for 41 years now and are up to their 10 millionth produced car. The one which got the honor was a red 500C. A Lancia Ypsilon was only one number short of the honorable mark, while a Panda Classic rolled off the production line just too late. This memorable milestone on wheels will be exported to Germany.
The Polish adventure of Fiat started back in 1967 with the supply of technique to FSO; first in Warsaw, where FSO was licensed to manufacture the Polski Fiat 125p (picture below), and later on in the South-Polish city Bielsko-Biala. This all happened in a FSO-factory where mainly Polish cars were being produced. The 126 was the first Fiat to be produced in Poland under license. In 1975, the production was transferred to a new plant, in the more northern Tychy. Until 1992, this enterprise was called FSM and there was a badge on every Fiat coming from this factory saying ‘Fiat by FSM’. Next to the 126, also models such as the 127, Uno/Innocenti, Siena and Palio Weekend were built here. A little known fact is that Fiat also had cars put together in Tychy in the nineties, while these were normally manufactured in Italy: the Punto (Mirafiori), Bravo/Brava (Cassino), Marea (Rivalta and Mirafiori) and Ducato (Sevel Val di Sangro, Atessa).
The Polish economy kept on growing in the following years, and Fiat eventually decided to ‘grow along’. FSO, however, had to close the books, unlike Skoda, which was successfully rebuilt by Volkswagen in Czech Republic after the fall of the wall. Fiat was struggling, even though the in Poland built Cinquecento and Seicento were an enormous success. While Fiat only just managed to survive, the production of the Panda (Classic), 500, Ford Ka and nowadays also the first Lancia (Ypsilon) started in a thoroughly modernized factory. The plant in Bielsko-Biala has meanwhile turned into an engine factory of Fiat Powertrain. The production location in Tychy is now 37 years old and has manufactured 8.277.404 cars so far.