DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC

Polish-Canadians aim to awaken a sleeping mermaid

The new Syrena resembles the original car much like the current Fiat 500 pays homage to its predecessors.
Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
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A group of Polish-Canadian entrepreneurs wants to revive the Syrena brand after a 30-year absence from the market.

The Syrena, which is often referred to as the mermaid in Poland, was produced in the country from 1957 until 1983, first by FSO (Fabryka Samochodow Osobowych) in Warsaw and then by FSM (Fabryka Samochodow Malolitrazowych) in Bielsko-Biała. An estimated 521,311 Syrena models were made.

AK Motor International Corp., a Canada-based company run by Polish ex-pats, recently released photos of its vision of the 21st century version of the car, which it calls the AK Syrena Meluzyna.

AK Motor founder and CEO Arkadiusz Kaminski told me that he is looking for investors as well as an industrial partner to make the car. One potential partner is FSO, which has the historic rights to the FSO Syrena while AK Motor has the exclusive rights to develop, produce, and market AK Syrena cars.

Kaminski, 39, said that his preference is to have the car made in Poland.

The new Syrena resembles the original car much like the current Fiat 500 pays homage to its early predecessors.

“It’s an iconic design,” Kaminski said in a phone interview. “If you asked a child to draw a car it would be as clean and simple as this.”

He also loves the brand’s longtime link to mermaids because nearly every culture has a legend about the imaginary sea dweller.

“Why should cars be so serious,” said Kaminski, whose background is in designing toys.

The Meluzyna S is designed to be a sporty version of the new Syrena with all-wheel-drive capabilities.

Kaminski knows that he has a long way to go to reach his goal of having the new-generation Syrena on the road, but he is hopeful that the car will appeal to nostalgic Pols as well as a new generation of global car buyers looking to downsize into a retro-looking citycar.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.

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