I am less and less surprised when my German friends tell me that they have just travelled by a very comfortable bus constructed and produced in Poland. Solaris buses can be seen more and more often on German streets. Personally I bump into them regularly. But when you go skiing, try to hide yourself in a small Austrian village at 2 thousand meters, turn off your email box, leave your car and just wait for a ski bus to take you to the ski slopes and then you are picked up by… a Solaris, you are really forced to think it over. The conclusion is quite simple but, in my opinion, insufficiently stressed: Polish products are really highly appreciated in Western Europe. Unfortunately normal citizens are still not aware that …. they are Polish. And we, the Poles, still do not believe in their promotional power as much as we should.
One does not have to talk too much about their practical side. Just try as a skier in your tough ski boots, carrying heavy skis and wearing all those thick clothes to climb the stars of a normal ski bus with three steps by the doors. The low-floor Solaris is then all the more appreciated.
Some facts and figures
However, not only the experience, but much more the figures speak for themselves. To mention just a few of them:
- Solaris Bus & Coach is a family company, a major European producer of city, intercity and special-purpose buses as well as low-floor trams.
- Since the start of production in 1996, nearly 10 000 vehicles have already left the factory in Bolechowo near Poznań. They are running in 26 countries.
- Solaris has been selling its vehicles to Germany since the year 2000
- In the most famous financial capital, Frankfurt am Main, there are altogether 111 Solaris buses in use
- A good symbol of a Polish-German cooperation is the island Usedom where a Solaris bus crosses the Polish-German boarder and connects two towns – on the Polish and German side. The bus line is used mainly by tourists who want to visit the second country.
- Buses and trolley buses from Solaris have been driving on Sardinia since 2010
(The date comes from: http://www.solarisbus.pl)
German craziness about vehicles
But let’s come back to the Germans for a moment. I have written about their excitement by discovering the fact that Solaris is Polish. No, it is not just a sign of o total distrust in Polish products in that country. In this case it is something more. The German car industry is after all the biggest German pride. And suddenly a vehicle from another country wins in so many categories and drive on German streets instead of German buses. It must be impressive.
You must go skiing to be proud
My big fear, however, is, that not so many Germans know such facts nor can they name Polish products. We will find it out in the next weeks as our regular Institute of Public Affairs perception study on the image of Poland in Germany will be conducted. Previous research on Polish products in other countries is not so bright. Still too few Russians and Netherlanders admit they know anything about Polish products.
Writing this, my intention is not to advertise for Solaris. What I really want is to raise awareness among Poles, including myself, the Polish brands are appreciated in many countries, but rarely presented as Polish ones. It would be good if we, Poles, use this fact more often while promoting our country. It would also be refreshing to see good Polish products in other countries as obviously Polish. So that one does not have to go skiing to find out…
But irrespective of my love for skiing and the unexpected discoveries during holiday I wish for all of us that winter will finally end :-)
Pictures were taken in Vent in the Austrian Alps, Oetztal.