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    Fiat 126p made its debut on the Polish market 50 years ago

    50 years ago, the most important car in the history of the Polish automotive industry made its debut in Poland – the Fiat 126p, better known as the “Maluch.” Under industrial cooperation and licensing agreement signed by the government with the Italian Fiat, the first car left the factory in Bielsko-Biała in the summer of 1973.

    The car had a difficult task ahead of it. In the 1970s there were only 15 cars for every thousand inhabitants of the People’s Republic of Poland. The only relatively modern car offered on our market at the time was the licensed Fiat 125p. Unfortunately, not only was it impossible to buy (coupons for goods were in force at the time – ed.), its price – the equivalent of 48 national average wages – was staggering for most Poles.

     

    How much did a new Maluch cost?

     

    The solution turned out to be the smaller and definitely more modern brother of “Duży Fiat” (The Big Fiat -125p -ed.) – the 126 model. The first Fiat 126p rolled off the assembly line at FSM (The Small Car Factory -ed.) in Bielsko-Biała on 22 July 1973. Two years later, production was also launched at the Tychy plant. The second factory was built on the basis of an identical project of the already operating Fiat plant in Cassino, Italy.

     

    Fiat 126p was produced at the Bielsko-Biała plant for 27 years, from 22 July 1973 to 22 September 2000. The average annual production volume was around 43,000 units. The most “prolific” period for the Bielsko-Biała plant was 1993 when 69,549 units rolled off the assembly lines. For 16 years, from 1975 to 1991, the model was also produced at the plant in Tychy, where the annual average production volume was over 135,000 units. The record year for the factory there was 1980 (182,323 units). In total (at Bielsko and Tychy) 3,318,674 units of this model were produced.

     

    The last Fiat 126p, officially known as the Maluch by then, rolled off the assembly line on 22 September 2000. Together with the final version of the “Maluch Happy End”, car production at the Bielsko-Biała plant also came to an end. 

     

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