Although many different brands of cars are available in modern Poland, American, German, Japanese, British, Italian, French, Russian, Korean, and cars from other countries, Poland has always had a special infinity for small simple cars.
After World War II, when Poland became a Soviet-bloc country, Soviet-made and Soviet- inspired cars, the 'people's cars' have always captivated the Polish driver. Cars from this era, were small economical and easy to fix.
Despite the influence of the Soviet-bloc cars, Poland eventually turned to the Fiat, an Italian car made in Poland, and fell in love with the Polski Fiat, the 125p and the 126p. This small Fiat, the 126p, dubbed the 'Maluch', meaning 'little one' in Polish, was at once a van, a lorry and a utility vehicle. This small car became so ingrained in Polish life that it appeared at construction sites during the day as the family work car, and in the summer it took Polish families on vacation, with its roof piled high with suitcases.
When Poland was in the Soviet-bloc, cars were not cheap. The Polish worker had to work 3,000 to 5,000 hours to buy a car, and a ten year waiting list for new cars was not uncommon. People bought a new Polish Fiat drove it around for quite a few years and then sold it for three or four times what they paid for it. The new owners had cash in their pocket and they did not want to wait ten years for a new car, so they settled on the used car and paid the high price.
Poland still has a special connection with the Fiat, and there are many different Fiat models, all primarily small vehicles, that are produced in Poland. Other cars are manufactured in Poland, the Opel and the Daewoo, along with other Asian brands, but they are not as seen as frequently as the Fiat. These cars are primarily small in size, durable and easy to fix. Yet, small Fiats are seen everywhere, despite the invasion by Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, BMW, Toyota, Mitsubishi and the French Renault Citroen and Peugeot.