Plans to revamp Poland's main car factory -- the FSO -- and increase production could be thwarted by the country's latest petrol crisis.
SV PAN DOWN EXTERIOR Car factory
SVs INTERIOR New cars on assembly line
SV Welder welding
SV ZOOM OUT Name Polonez on car, cars leaving assembly line (2 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV Cars in factory grounds
SV Car transporters held up in streets
GV PAN ALONG Cars queueing for petrol
SV Cars being filled with petrol, pump meters (2 shots)
CU Garage attendant taking petrol coupon from customer
LV Drivers queueing to pay for petrol
GV Cars queueing outside garage
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Background: Plans to revamp Poland's main car factory -- the FSO -- and increase production could be thwarted by the country's latest petrol crisis. On April 1 the Polish Government capped two weeks of chaos and queueing at petrol stations by raising petrol prices 25 per cent to reduce consumption. It also put tighter controls on petrol sales, a move designed to curb the black market which has flourished since petrol rationing was introduced. According to the authorities reduced consumption is necessary because of a steady rise in the number of private cars and the country's inability to increase oil imports because it is short of hard currency. The Government has made no change to public transport fares.Although there are more private cars on the road, production at the FSO car factory has dropped from around 140-thousand cars a year to 100-thousand. Industry overall in Poland is stagnant; at the FSO it's reflected in continued postponement of the building of a new engine plant. The Polish car industry is largely based on collaboration with Fiat. The FSO produces a car similar to the Fiat 125, supplemented by the Polonez hatchback. The factory, which employs 22-thousand people, is afraid that if the Government doesn't agree to a comprehensive modernisation of the works production could halt and plans to collaborate with another, as yet unnamed Western manufacturer, could crumble. In the meantime those Poles who do own cars, which cost on average two to three years' earnings, are facing the gloomy prospect of even tighter restrictions on the amount of petrol they can use. Before the new regulations there were easy ways of cheating on petrol coupons -- by paying over the odds -- a situation which suited service station attendants, because it boosted their profits.