Reducing August business operations to a bare minimum and dispersing for vacations originated in Mediterranean countries; but the tradition has become contagious and is now totally pan‐European. The Central European emerging economies have happily adopted this line, as have many of the European subsidiaries of U.S. manufacturing companies. Engineering and purchasing departments of end users across the region follow suit, slowing down most transactions to a snail’s pace in August. Summer temperatures this year continue to oscillate between 95-100° F, another factor in the “take a break” attitude. Despite the summer lull, AMT members are still pursuing orders, looking for distributors and inquiring about the requirements of the CEE region.
There are interesting new developments in Central Europe’s automotive sector. U.S.-affiliated manufacturers have been particularly active in Poland, Romania and Turkey. Output at the Opel plant (GM Group) in Gliwice, for example, continues to show considerable increases, even in July (14% year-to-year). And Hungary is becoming a place for new (this time non-German) auto manufacturing. Last month, Borg Warner opened its plant in Oroszlany for advanced all‐wheel drive solutions (transfer cases, feeder pumps, valves etc.), while the capacity of its Polish plant has also been increased. Naturally, in the non‐American field, things have also been happening. Poland and Slovakia competed again for a major contract from Tata (Jaguar/Land Rover plant), worth $1.84 billion USD. The new plant will ultimately produce 300,000 vehicles per year. Fortunately again for Slovakia, its town of Nitra won. Obviously, all this activity creates a manufacturing environment that U.S. manufacturers should watch closely and try to exploit, finding the way to operate better in smaller markets.
The CEE office is concentrating on the inevitable autumn push. I”m bracing for a quite hectic September-October. I’ll keep you posted!
Categories: Global Services