In EU first, GM launches Chevrolet production in Poland

US giant General Motors on Tuesday launched production of the Aveo economy car at a plant in Poland, marking the first time a vehicle from the Chevrolet brand has been built in the European Union.

The Chevrolet Aveo is being produced in Poland under a deal between GM and the Ukrainian company UkrAvto, which owns the FSO plant in Warsaw.

GM, which already produces the Aveo in its plants in South Korea, said it plans to turn out a combined total of 70,000 1.2- and l.4-litre versions of the cars in Warsaw in 2008.

The Polish-produced vehicles will initially be destined for the Ukrainian and Russian markets, but will go on sale in the European Union in April.

In 2009, production is to be beefed up to 100,000 cars a year. The estimated production capacity of the FSO plant is 240,000 a year.

The Chevrolet launch marks a homecoming for what was a cult brand in Poland before World War II, said FSO head Janusz Wozniak.

Chevrolet set up a factory in Poland in 1928 but the site was closed because of the war and the subsequent creation of Poland's pro-Soviet communist government, which fell in 1989.

GM already owns an Opel plant in the southern city of Gliwice, which produces its Astra and Zafira range.

In 2005, UkrAvto bought the communist-era FSO plant from the troubled South Korean group Daewoo, which had owned the site for 10 years.

UkrAvto has continued making the compact Daewoo Lanos at the FSO sites and sells 95 percent of its production in Ukraine.

GM took over Daewoo Motor in 2002 but Daewoo-FSO was not part of the assets of the South Korean group which were acquired by the US auto giant.

GM and UkrAvto said in a statement Tuesday that they were planning to set up a joint company to run the FSO plant and oversee production of the Chevrolet Aveo.

UkrAvto will hold a 60 percent stake in the company and the rest will be owned by GM's South Korean unit, GM Daewoo, they said.

Production of the Aveo in the EU will help GM meet rising demand for the car.

Wayne Brannon, head of Chevrolet Europe, said 79,000 Aveos have been registered in the EU since the beginning of the year and that the company expects 40,000 more to be on the road by the end of December.

But GM and UkrAvto's production plans could fall foul of the European Commission.

Because public funds have been used in the past to keep the FSO plant afloat, Brussels has set a production cap of 150,000 vehicles a year until 2011, to stop the legacy of state aid skewing the car market.

FSO, backed by the Polish government, has contested the ruling, arguing that the aid was paid out before Poland joined the EU in 2004 and so does not breach the competition rules of the 27-country bloc.

Source: rawstory.com

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Carpet firm axes 30 - and transfers work to Poland

A CARPET manufacturer is moving a section of its production department to Poland and axing 30 jobs.

The redundancies at Cavalier Carpets, Selous Road, Blackburn, come after company bosses took the decision to move the Axminster department in a bid to reduce costs.

According to Cavalier chiefs, the move was prompted by escalating UK labour costs, which they said could be slashed by moving to a town in the south of Poland.

The company's operations director Andrew Pickstone, said staff consultation was currently underway over the proposed cuts and voluntary redundancies would be offered.

Machinery used to produce the Axminster carpets is expected to be shipped out to Poland at the start of next year in a transfer process due to last approximately nine months.

Mr Pickstone said: "The move has been prompted by the low labour costs in Poland.

"We operate in a labour intensive market and we have to seek as lower costs as possible. There are very few Axminster weavers in the UK because of this.

"We have consulted the unions and are now talking to individual people about what happens next.

"We need to show a commitment to our retailers and this allows to do that. It is a positive move because the majority of our staff in Blackburn are on the service and finishing side of the business. Their jobs will not be affected."

Approximately 70 people will still be employed by Cavalier in Blackburn and Mr Pickstone assured them that their jobs were safe.

He added: "There will be no further redundancies following this."

A GMB spokesman was unavailable for comment .

The company was founded in 1972 and serves both domestic and contract customers.

Source: By Ben Briggs , thisislancashire.co.uk

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Another HD OB for Poland

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Urban Land Institute accolade goes to Poland

The Manufaktura trade-and-entertainment centre in the city of Lodz has won the 2007 Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute. The Manufaktura was opened last year in a 19th-century post-industrial site comprising 13 former factories. It includes hypermarkets, a shopping gallery, restaurants, pubs and cinemas. A hotel and an exhibition space is to open next year. The Award for Excellence is one of the most prestigious architectural distinctions. The remaining awards went to projects in the United States, China, and France.
Source: polskieradio.pl

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Special report: Finance for Poles in Britain

More than 10,000 Poles are leaving each month to seek a new life in the UK. Most are well educated and determined to save hard even though they might initially have to do menial work to get a foot on the jobs ladder.

In this special report, Financial Mail looks at how Britain's banks and financial services companies are trying to cater for the influx of Polish migrants. We ask Poles both in the UK and Warsaw what they are looking for in terms of jobs, financial advice and savings options and how well their needs are being met.

Jakub Kubasek
Challenge: Law student Jakub Kubasek, far left, with friends in Warsaw

Waiters in restaurants, hotel workers, bank clerks and university students. Almost everyone you talk to in Warsaw, Poland's vibrant capital, knows someone who is now working in the UK. Many have their own ambitions to head to Britain to earn money.

According to latest Government figures, almost half am Poles have registered to work in the UK since Poland joined the European Union in May 2004. A further 200,000 are working in on a self-employed basis. Other commentators have put the total figure at 800,000.

Currently, more than 10,000 Polish nationals are leaving Poland each month for the UK. To put this into context, Poland has a population of 40m. The number of Polish nationals living in the UK is expected to top the 1m mark by 2012.

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We've lined up two banking and business experts to answer all your questions. The webchat starts at 1pm on Tuesday but you can ask a question right.

Law student Jakub Kubasek, 21, has one eye on working in the UK in the future. Although Jakub, from Warsaw, has three more years left of his degree course at the prestigious University of Warsaw, he says he is keen to work in the Britain.

On a lunch break with fellow law students Karolina Kulikowska, Janek Markiewicz, Joanna Korzeniewska and Marcin Musiclowski, Jakub says he wants to come to the UK to improve his English. But he fears finding work as a lawyer, if he qualifies, could be tough.

'Most young people I know who have gone to the UK have ended up doing menial jobs in hotels and cafes,' says Jakub, who speaks near-perfect English. 'In many cases the money is good but if these people have secondary education or a degree, ultimately they want to pursue a career. I would love to work in the UK but only if I could get a job in law.'

Jakub's reservations are borne out by the official statistics. Research conducted by PKO Bank Polski, Poland's largest retail bank, shows that 63% of Polish immigrants to the UK are aged between 24 and 35 with 40% possessing a university degree. Yet just 30% of Polish migrants are currently working in 'white collar' office jobs in the UK - although slowly but surely more Poles are occupying key positions (see page 4).

Bartek Vytlacil is managing director in charge of international banking at PKO Bank Polski in Warsaw. He says: 'Unemployment is high in Poland and most young people learn English in schools, so the UK is an obvious choice to go for work and to save money. Most Poles are prepared to work in jobs that are below their expectations if the wages are good. Most still find they are able to save.'

Both UK and Polish financial institutions are keen to capitalise on this burgeoning Polish migrant market. PKO Bank Polski has teamed up with NatWest Bank to offer a joined up banking service in the UK and Poland while HSBC is also looking to grab a share of the migrant market before Poles come over to the UK.

Iga Stach, 19, from Krakow, is a recent arrival who banks with NatWest. The babysitter, left, says: 'The service is more efficient than I was used to in Poland.'

Polish nationals can apply for HSBC's Passport Account online before they leave Poland, so their account, with its easy money transfer service, can be up and running before they even start work in the UK.

David Putts is head of personal financial services for central Europe at HSBC. He believes that the property boom in Poland is one of the reasons why Poles are seeking work and higher earnings overseas. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors house prices in Poland rose by 33% last year and by 28% in 2005.

'Young Poles are keen to purchase property,' says Putts. 'The result is that many Poles go to the UK for a few years to save and raise a deposit for a home back in Poland.'

At the British Council in Warsaw, director Tony O'Brien and his colleagues, who offer English classes and pre-departure events for Poles planning to come to the UK, says there has been a dramatic increase in interest in the UK. O'Brien says: 'People are looking for independent information about the best places to find work, where to open a bank account and how to send money back to Poland. We point them in the right direction.'

Ola Walentynowicz is co-ordinator for the British Alumni Society. The BAS is a networking association with 600 members which brings together Poles and British nationals living in Poland who have studied at UK universities. She says websites such as onet.eu, which provides advice for Poles, and as szkocja.net, a news and networking site for Poles living in Scotland, are a good way for many Polish nationals to get generic information about living, working and financial matters in the UK.

Source: By thisismoney.co.uk

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