On 5-6 April in Sosnowiec, during the fifth edition of the International Automotive Business Meeting industry experts, representatives of institutions and major companies from the sector met to talk about the future of the automotive industry.
This year’s edition focused on three main topics: challenges related to e-mobility, possibilities of using hydrogen as a fuel for ecological vehicles and green intelligent mobility in cities after Covid-19 pandemic.
– After the break associated with the pandemic, we managed once again, together with the Katowice Special Economic Zone and Silesia Automotive & Advanced Manufacturing Cluster to organize IABM. We met in completely new circumstances, facing difficult times. Today, in constantly changing conditions, the challenges facing the industry are even greater, which was discussed for two days by a group of outstanding experts – said Piero Cannas, President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland (CCIIP).
IABM consists of a conference and networking part, including: conference and discussion panels, Aperitvo Italiano and Gala Party, partners presentations, B2B meetings and Speed Business Mixer. All these elements make the event initiated by the Italian Chamber of Commerce a unique and effective tool in creating new ideas, sharing experience, building and establishing business relationships.
– This year we are coming together to talk about difficult topics. Rising steel prices, oil prices, all of these are putting our investors in a new and difficult situation. As an economic zone we are ready to help, reinvest and solve current problems – said Mateusz Rykała, Vice President of the Katowice Special Economic Zone.
Those were two dynamic days of intense meetings, talks, conclusions and demands – in the new world and new reality.
– We need to consider where the automotive industry is going and what role Poland will play in this sector. We can notice pressure on increasing the participation of Polish suppliers in building new electric vehicles. We observe that a lot of companies are preparing for this, technologically and organizationally, which also means new competences among employees and new actions towards consolidation of supplying companies – adds Luk Palmen, Innovation and Cooperation Manager of Silesia Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing Cluster (SA&AM).
What’s happening in the automotive sector?
The automotive sector has been going through a very interesting, but also difficult time recently. It all started with a pandemic, when factories had to suspend production, then came the problems with supply of semiconductors, and now the war in Ukraine has interrupted value chains and supply of very important components. Undoubtedly, the automotive industry will face many challenges, including some it has never faced before. Nevertheless, experts are optimistic about the future.
– Everyone is counting on the fact that the automotive industry will finally come back to high speed, supported by mega trends in mobility and motoring, i.e. electric cars, autonomous vehicles and all that will offer us environmentally sustainable mobility in Europe and in the world – emphasized Paweł Wideł, President of the Association of Employers in Automotive and Industrial Articles at Lewiatan Confederation.
During the conference, which he chaired together with Jakub Faryś, President of the Polish Automotive Industry Association, they discussed the automotive of tomorrow.
– Our industry is at a turning point. We are entering the era of new mobility, environmentally friendly ecological drives. On the other hand, probably never in history have we had so many serious problems. Nevertheless, we want to focus on moving forward, because there is no other way, no turning back from the fight to make the climate better, from the transition to low-emission drives. Already today, it is worth saying that from month to month
It is already worth saying that the number of new registrations of cars with diesel engines in Poland is falling from month to month, and is at the level of 10%. This shows how much customers want to buy new cars with other drives – stressed Faryś.
The second day of IABM was focused on building business relationships. The event was attended by about 200 companies from the automotive sector. Speed Busines Mixer was led by Anna Monika Stępień, Manager of the CCIIP Study Centre.
– Networking meetings during IABM organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland are an extremely valuable tradition that helps to build and strengthen contacts in the industry. This year there were hundreds of meetings between companies participating in this fifth edition of IABM – said Anna Monika.
The automotive basin
– Upper Silesia and Zagłębie is the Polish capital of the automotive industry which is the driving force of the region. In the context of the Metropolis, it is the largest purchasing group of electric cars, for which we will soon announce a tender – announced Kazimierz Karolczak, President of the Management Board of the Upper Silesian and Zagłębie Metropolis.
– Dabrowa Górnicza participates in the economic transformation, as much as one third of companies from our city is associated with the automotive industry and electromobility. It is a great challenge and a great hope for us, because from a mining and metallurgical city we are becoming, like the whole region, a city associated with the automotive sector – added Marcin Bazylak, Mayor of Dabrowa Górnicza.
For 25 years, companies from the automotive sector have been developing in Silesia and Zagłębie. Currently, there are more than 500 companies, 70% of which are automotive sector.
– As a cluster we bring together 180 entities, including more than 120 companies from the automotive sector. We create a platform of cooperation between the automotive industry, business, education, R&D environment, because we believe that Upper Silesia is the best place for the automotive industry – explained Łukasz Górecki, Director of Silesia Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing Cluster (SA&AM).
The changing industry connected with electromobility and autonomous vehicles is willing to invest capital in this region, an example is the FCA factory.
– The historic car factory in Tychy, which is part of the Stellantis concern, certainly fits very well with what is currently happening in new trends in the automotive industry. At the moment, apart from the current production, we are preparing to launch new cars under three brands, which will certainly fit into the electrification map – says Tomasz Gębka, Plant Manager, FCA Poland SA, Tychy Plant.
Green smart mobility in cities
During one of the IABM panels, experts discussed the impact of COVID-19 on urban mobility strategies and the role of local governments in supporting new technologies in public transport.
– Over the past years, thanks to the hard work of citizens together with local governments, many positive changes have happened: construction of bicycle paths, reconstruction of streetcar lines, purchase of electric buses. Clean environment, new technologies, this is the direction we have chosen and we want to share these experiences,” emphasized Arkadiusz Chęciński, Mayor of Sosnowiec.
The city of Dąbrowa is also going through a transport revolution and is strongly focused on green mobility. A number of infrastructural projects are currently being carried out in order to encourage the inhabitants to choose bicycles or ecological public transport as alternatives to the car.
Batteries or hydrogen? – that is the question
The automotive industry is constantly looking for better, cheaper, more efficient and environmentally safer alternatives. One of the favorites is electric hydrogen vehicles. What is better – hydrogen or batteries – was discussed by experts during IABM. The answers are not unequivocal.
-During IABM we presented new wallbox for electric chargers, produced in our factory in Sosnowiec. We know that electromobility is becoming the future, and all car manufacturing companies are investing in battery vehicles. Bitron wants to play a key role in this process, emphasizing the design and customization capabilities of our products,” said Riccardo Fontana, Charging system, Head Global Sales & Marketing, Bitron.
Meanwhile, David Thackray, Marketing Director at Tevva and a panelist on behalf of the British Embassy, pointed out:
– We often ask ourselves when it comes to electromobility: batteries or hydrogen? The answer is: both. Batteries are more efficient in terms of energy efficiency and therefore carbon emissions, but they are heavy. Hydrogen, on the other hand, is less efficient in terms of carbon footprint, but much lighter. Different companies will have different vehicle propulsion needs: depending on whether they want range, payload, or lower cost.
Experts agree on one thing: everyone is betting on the development of e-mobility, and depending on the circumstances, it will become a reality sooner or later – there is no other choice.
– We believe that electromobility is the future not only for passenger cars, but also for the entire transport industry,” concluded Radosław Chojak, Managing Director, Partners Group Polska.
Organizers: Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland, Katowice Special Economic Zone, Silesia Automotive & Advanced Manufacturing Cluster
Hosting Partner: The City of Sosnowiec
Institutional Partners: City of Dąbrowa Górnicza, Metropolis of Upper Silesia and Zagłębie
Honorary Patronage: Embassy of Italy in Warsaw, British Embassy in Warsaw, Polish Investment and Trade Agency, Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, Ministry of Climate and Environment
Platinum Partners: Partnerspol Group, Insieme, Don Caruso, Bitron
Gold Partners: Lanzi Group, BCube, Plascotech, Stellantis
Strategic Partners: Polish Automotive Industry Association, Association of Employers of Automotive and Industrial Articles, Polish Alternative Fuels Association, Foundation for Promotion of Electric Vehicles, Advantage Austria, British-Polish Chamber of Commerce, French-Polish Chamber of Commerce, Polish-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, AICE-Italian Association of Foreign Trade, ANFIA, H2IT
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The International Automotive Business Meeting (IABM) is an elite two-day meeting of the automotive sector that brings together industry leaders and experts, car manufacturers, major Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, representatives of European, Polish and local authorities, institutions and industry associations. The event is attended by over 300 representatives of companies from Poland, Europe and the world’s largest automotive markets such as China, Japan, India and the United States.
IABM provides independent, professional and reliable knowledge about the situation on the automotive market in Poland and in the world. IABM aims at obtaining a clear vision of the changes in the automotive sector in the near future and its influence on the supply chain, as well as at determining how electromobility and advanced driver assistance systems will influence the development of the automotive sector in Poland and worldwide. IABM is a unique opportunity to gain detailed insight into the automotive industry and the new technologies associated with it, as well as to build a network of contacts in the industry and gain business partners.