21 December 2018

East Europe Car/Vehicle Production By Nation : 2016-17

This part of Europe has a huge advantage in car manufacturing, low wage costs. That has incentivised many companies from around the world to set up plants in the region. Slovakia has been a strong beneficiary, making more cars per capita than any other country in the world. The main issue now is having a workforce qualified to meet future investment.

The Fiat 500L is made in Serbia
Cars: The Czech Republic leads the way with cars in this region, although Russia is closing in. Turkey had a good year, passing Slovakia in the process. Overall production continues to rise, with a 7% improvement in 2017. There ware some double counts with other countries that amounted to 3.5% of the total.

16 17 Nation 2017 % +/-
2016 % +/-
1 1 Czech Rep 1,413,881 21.0% 5% 1,344,182 21.6% 4%
2 2 Russia 1,348,029 20.0% 20% 1,124,310 18.1% -7%
4 3 Turkey 1,142,906 17.0% 20% 950,888 15.3% 20%
3 4 Slovakia 1,001,520 14.9% -4% 1,040,000 16.7% 4%
5 5 Poland 514,700 7.6% -7% 554,600 8.9% 4%
6 6 Hungary 502,000 7.5% -4% 524,241 8.4% 7%
7 7 Romania 359,240 5.3% 0% 358,861 5.8% -7%
8 8 Slovenia 189,852 2.8% 42% 133,702 2.1% 0%
9 9 Uzbekistan 140,247 2.1% 59% 88,152 1.4%
10 10 Serbia 79,360 1.2% 0% 79,360 1.3% -4%
12 11 Kazakhstan 16,789 0.2% 100% 8,397 0.1%
11 12 Belarus 13,428 0.2% -22% 17,270 0.3%
13 13 Ukraine 7,296 0.1% 68% 4,340 0.1% -23%

Total 6,729,248 8% 6,228,303 1%

CIS x2 116,270 1.7% 101,090 1.6%
E Eur x2 123,010 1.8% 125,200 2.0%

Vehicles: Including the commercial side of things adds nearly 950,000 units, much of that in Turkey. This propels that country into the top spot. It also consigns the Czech Rep to third, down two places from its passenger car ranking.

16 17 Nation 2017 % +/-
2016 % +/-
1 1 Turkey 1,695,731 22.1% 14% 1,485,927 21.0% 9%
3 2 Russia 1,551,293 20.2% 19% 1,303,544 18.4% -5%
2 3 Czech Rep 1,419,993 18.5% 5% 1,349,896 19.1% 8%
4 4 Slovakia 1,001,520 13.0% -4% 1,040,000 14.7% -7%
5 5 Poland 689,729 9.0% 1% 681,834 9.6% 3%
6 6 Hungary 505,400 6.6% -4% 526,500 7.4% -1%
7 7 Romania 359,250 4.7% 0% 359,306 5.1% -7%
8 8 Slovenia 189,852 2.5% 42% 133,702 1.9% 0%
9 9 Uzbekistan 140,247 1.8% 59% 88,152 1.2% -52%
10 10 Serbia 79,912 1.0% -1% 80,320 1.1% -4%
12 11 Kazakhstan 19,071 0.2% 79% 10,651 0.2% -26%
11 12 Belarus 13,428 0.2% -22% 17,270 0.2% 15%
13 13 Ukraine 9,542 0.1% 81% 5,264 0.1% -36%
14 - Azerbaidjan - 247 0.0% -40%

Total 7,674,968 8% 7,082,613 -1%

CIS x2 116,270 1.5% 101,090 1.4%
E Eur x2 123,010 1.6% 125,200 1.8%

Data source: OICA and others.
Main picture: Kia Slovakia.


  1. Czech Republic beating Russia, that is quite something...
    Impressive conclusions can be drawn from these figures.

    On the other hand I really don't see the point of totaling these figures.
    Half of them are in the EU (and in my view, should have been presented in the previous article), while some of them are now in the isolated Eurasian Economic Union (which is pretty much like a revamped Soviet Union). Then there is Turkey which is in a Customs Union with the EU and produces most of its cars to the EU28/EEA markets.

    With regard to the Central-Eastern European countries, the key challenge is definitely not education, this was already verified on the second half of the 90's when green field investment shifted towards more value added productions at least in the central and central-eastern countries.

  2. As I said before zoldfulu, I'm not going using the EU to decide how to present the information.
    As for education, I only referred to Slovakia. The Slovak Spectator quoted the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP) in January 2018 : "The absence of qualified labour may significantly affect decision-making by the managers of carmakers’ parent companies about where to place new investments and the extension of existing ones.
    ZAP has identified five main barriers for the further development of the sector. The first is the lack of a qualified labour force and the malfunctioning education system failing to generate the labour force for the industrial sector in general".

    1. I know you replied, and I replied to that at the relevant post.
      Geographically, Austria is not Western Europe, not to mention that Prague is 100 km west of Vienna.
      As for Central-Eastern Europe (which a more tangible politico-economic concept rather than geographic), shortage of labor forces now moving toward reality for two reasons: 1. a significant part of it moved to the wealthier Member States for work (intra EU mobility, freedom of movement within the EU), the supply side of labour market is shrinking 2. continuous resettling of EU industry (that you also document quite well here), thus the demand side of the labour market is growing for 15 years.

      I believe education is less of a constraint, partly as these countries all have strong history of social engineering, these societies are used to resetting, and partly because the training of skilled workers are better done in house by the companies.

      The issue is a general lack of available people (less in terms of skilled, and more as able to study and willing to work).

      One of the root and symptom is when an office clerk in Luxembourg makes more money than a senior manager in Hungary.

      An interesting development is the recent announcement of BMW to move to Debrecen (Hungary) for its new factory. This is far in the east, and I suspect the reason is to benefit from workforce arriving from Ukraine (while de facto remaining on the territory of the EU). Being 500km-s away from the core markets is more than just a nuance, and there has to be a good reason to take it up.

    2. I see that you prefer to avoid the EU, but is the economic reality of the worlds second-third largest car market with common technical rules (that also have a strong bearing on the region, from Maghreb through Turkey to Russia). The EU also has its own rules on marketing in the single market as well as on registration, taxation and after market circulation of cars, it is quite safe to treat it as a single market, even if deviations are allowed (such as right hand driven cars or specific categories for specialised vehicles).

    3. I decided to divide European car manufacturing into two sections, because I felt combined it was too large and some countries would get lost in such a list. Half of the nations were put into what is generally considered the western side of Europe and the other half to the east. On that basis, the EU wasn't taken into consideration.

    4. Well, first of all its your blog, so you are free to lay out things the way you want. I don't want to argue with your presentation of the tables, I just merely noted that it does not reflect economic and geographic reality to put Czech republic into the same grouping as Russia and not with Austria.

      The EU is not just a reality but the root of these developments in car production. It is not that the Slovaks decided suddenly to buy a million cars a year.

      The EU28 production is a bit heavy in numbers, bit that would simply reflect the economic reality (which is striking, if you compare Czech or Slovak production vs Russia).

      I would probably consider EU 28 and then Eurasian Union/CIS, and perhaps a third interim category (CH, Norway, TK, soon probably UK as well).

  3. “The absence of qualified labor” was ment in the way that automotive sector has grown so much that it has already sucked all technically educated people in the country... especially now, when the economy is running very fast and there is lack of employees everywhere... (in czechia for example there is twice as much vacant positions as number of unemployed people...)

    1. I agree. In many countries, the problem is the education system not training people in the fields they will be needed. There can be a breakdown between career advisers and business regarding realistic job opportunities. As always, communication and co-operation is essential.