* Car production dropped 33 pct y/y in Dec
* Manufacturers hit by falling euro zone demand
WARSAW, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Car production in Poland dropped by a third in December from a year earlier as top manufacturer Fiat announced massive layoffs at its Polish factory amid falling demand, industry monitor Samar said on Wednesday.
Fiat Auto Poland has begun laying off workers as part of a plan to cut one third of its workforce.
The number of passenger cars and trucks produced in Poland fell 21 percent from November and by 23 percent for all of 2012.
Car sales in all of Europe shrunk by 7.2 percent in January to November from a year earlier, according to data from the Association of European carmakers (ACEA), and most analysts expect volumes to fall further in 2013.
Most of the cars assembled in Poland by producers which also include Ford Motor and General Motor’s Opel are sold abroad. But a drop in manufacturing adds to the effects of a general economic slowdown.
Poland, the only European Union member since 2008 to avoid a contraction in its economy, is seen coming close to a recession in the first half of 2013.
Manufacturing output is expected to drop 7 percent in annual terms in December, a Reuters poll shows.
According to economists’ estimates, car production accounts for around 7 percent of Poland’s industrial production.