The Czech Republic has very strong roots in the automotive industry: it occupies a leading position in terms of the number of cars produced per capita, second only to Slovakia. By the level of development of transport production, this country is in sixth place in Europe. Particularly rapid growth is observed in the 21st century: the Czech Republic entered the top 20 states, producing over 1 million cars a year.
The dominant brands in the industry are Skoda Auto, Tatra, Karosa, which occupy the first three lines of the rating. Other manufacturers have also proven themselves well in the EU. Since 1897 (the beginning of the country’s automotive industry), their number has increased significantly. In the mid-90s of the last century, the German concern Volkswagen entered the market, significantly intensifying cooperation with Czech companies.
Major Czech Car Brands
Previously, Czech car companies had common roots with Slovak ones. But after the collapse of Czechoslovakia, a cardinal division of industry took place, including the automotive industry. And since transport production in that region was very well established, the cars’ brands were already famous, and their products were in demand. This speaks of considerable experience in this industry and the high development of the Czech Republic’s automotive industry.
1 Skoda Auto (1925-Present)
In 1895, a bookstore seller Václav Klement and his friend, mechanic Václav Laurin set up a bicycle repair shop in their hometown. Subsequently, they switched to the production of motorcycles. So gradually, the small company grew into the largest automotive organization. Passenger cars in its range appeared in 1905. In the 1920s, Laurin & Klement merged with Skoda, which later became part of the Volkswagen Group. The most sensational models of this automaker are Felicia, Octavia, Favorit, Fabia.
2 Kaipan (1992-Present)
It is a relatively small car company headquartered in the city of Smržovka. It produces passenger transport equipment of a high price segment. In particular, it has sports convertibles and convertible roadsters in its arsenal. Having entered the industry business in 1992, she released her first car only five years later – in 1997. The basis for the debut model was the Lotus 7. All the variants created later are similar to it, with some modifications for the corporate identity.
3 MTX (1969-Present)
The beginning of this car brand was laid in 1969 when a workshop for repairing Skoda racing cars was opened. A year later, the mechanics released their own sports car called the MTX 1-01. By 1980, the firm had already created a huge range of sports cars that participated in several international competitions. All of them were developed on the Skoda and Lada chassis.
In 1990, the company acquired a cabriolet based on the Skoda Rapid. Simultaneously, a roadster and a convertible were made based on the Favorit and Felicia models. Sometime later, the Czech manufacturer presented the fastest car of that time – the MTX Tatra V8, equipped with a 306 horsepower engine.
4 Praga (1907-Present)
The brand, founded in 1907, still exists today and belongs to PRAGA-Export S.R.O. He has many legendary cars and other equipment on his account since he was not only engaged in the automotive industry. Starting in 1947, this Czech company switched to the production of military equipment and trucks. But then she started making passenger cars again, presenting the Praga R1R supercar. In 2006, it was bought by the British International Truck Alliance. In 2016, the company re-started the design of the Praga R1R, the first street supersport car, which came in a limited edition of 68 units.
5 Tatra (1850-Present)
One of the oldest Czech companies was founded in 1850 by Ignaz Schustala in Kopřivnice (Moravia). Then she bore the name Schustala & Company and was engaged in the manufacture of bricks and baby carriages. It was a very successful manufacturer as it had offices in several countries. In the early 1880s, the company mastered the production of railroad carriages and in 1897 presented the first carriage in the central part of Europe, which was named President.
In 1918, the company was rebranded, after which it became known as “Kopřivnická vozovka AS.” After the end of the Second World War, the company began assembling luxury trucks and cars. In 2013, Tatra was sold under the hammer and became part of the Czechoslovak Group. It currently manufactures lightweight trucks with a backbone frame.
6 Motors Luka EV (2010-Present)
It is a brand of an electric concept car developed by MW Motors. The vehicle is based on the Tatra JK 2500 and is made on an aluminum chassis. Body material – fiberglass. The car charges in nine hours from a standard 220-volt network, have four-wheel drive and a single gear. The battery charge lasts for about 300 km.
Several transport manufacturers operate in the Czech Republic, which has their offices in the country, using internal technical capacities. These are international companies Hyundai Motor Europe and Toyota Motor Europe.
1 Avia (1919-Present)
AVIA Motors entered the transport construction market in 1919. Its founders were Pavel Beneš and Miroslav Hajn, who opened it in Prague. Until 1946, only airplanes were produced at the enterprise. Then buses and trucks of the brands Tatra, Škoda, Praga appeared. In 1967, the organization received a license to manufacture Renault passenger cars of two series. Later, another model was added to them.
In the summer of 2013, this Czech company stopped assembling cars, focusing on components for them. In 2016, the company came under the Czechoslovak Group’s jurisdiction, which acquired the plant from Ashok Leyland and gave it its current name – AVIA Motors. In 2017, all production facilities were moved to the new owner’s industrial area, Prselouch.
2 Jawa (1919-Present)
The legendary brand originated in 1929 in Týnec nad Sázavou on the initiative of František Janeček, who acquired the Wanderer division. At first, the company was positioned only as a motorcycle, supplying its products to more than 120 countries worldwide. Particularly popular was the 350 Californian (the 1970s).
This Czech manufacturer produced its first passenger car in 1934. It was the JAWA 700 based on the DKW. Three years later, an upgraded version of the JAWA 600 Minor appeared. The production of cars was carried out in small batches and did not stop even during World War II.
3 Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech (2008-Present)
HMMC has been working in Nošovice since autumn 2008. Its founder is Hyundai Motor Europe Corporation. The result was a plant worth over 1 billion euros – the amount the parent company invested in it, spending two years on construction. It manufactures Hyundai cars in three modifications targeted at the European market. The production capacity of the enterprise is 300 thousand passenger cars per year.
4 Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech (2002-Present)
TPCA is a joint venture between Groupe PSA and Toyota Motor Corporation, formed in 2002. It was located in Kolín, where it produced three brands of subcompact cars for sale in Europe (Toyota, Citroën, Peugeot). In 2020, the manufacturer crashed due to a defective batch with a falling pedal and closed. In January 2021, Toyota Motor Europe became the sole owner of the TPCA plant, renaming it Toyota Motor Manufacturing Czech and making it it’s subsidiary.
Defunct Car Brands
The Czech Republic’s automobile industry dates back to the distant nineteenth century when the incredibly wealthy Baron von Liebig expressed an ardent desire to purchase his motor vehicle, which was considered an incredible curiosity and luxury. The car was assembled in the workshop of the genius engineer mechanic Benz, according to his drawings. On this miracle of technology with a gasoline engine, the Baron covered distances of almost a thousand kilometers, bypassing several European countries. It was no longer an absolute record at that time, but it was a rather risky venture. The Czech Republic’s car industry is grateful to the Baron for such a crazy idea and courage of action because it was this vehicle that became the first sign of the automotive industry in the Czech Republic and laid the foundation for the construction of roads in the country.
1 Aero (1929-1947)
This manufacturer began his career at an aircraft building plant, and therefore received the appropriate name – Aero, that is, “air.” The name was retained because it characterizes the branded cars – light on the move as if floating. The founder of the company is an engineer Novotny, who developed all the models himself. The first brainchild was the Disk car – a two-seater, two-stroke, with a cylindrical engine and a gearbox from Daimler.
Next came the Enka with a ten-horsepower engine (the most powerful at the time), trucks with front brakes, sports cars Aero 1000 (26 horsepower), Aero 750, and Aero 662S. In 1937, a four-seat, front-wheel-drive passenger car appeared. In 1949, the brand was taken over by another company, and in 1952 it was announced to be liquidated due to bankruptcy.
2 Karosa (1896-2007)
In 1896, Josef Sodomka opened a private carriage factory, so the company still bears this name. In 1948, the enterprise was nationalized and became state-owned. It was retrained for buses’ production, creating an effective competitor to such well-known companies as Skoda and Praga. Two years later, the company presented its legendary 706RTO model, which later received many awards. Later, other variants of buses appeared on her meringue.
In 1989, the company began to go through a difficult time and sharply reduced production volumes. The Renault corporation, which modernized the factories, came to her rescue. In 1999 Karosa entered the Irisbus Group. In 2007, the company received a new name – Iveco Czech Republic.
3 Zbrojovka (1924-1937)
The Brno company moved into the automotive industry in 1924, and before that, it was a manufacturer of firearms. Its first model was the Disk-branded passenger car. Later, it was improved and replicated, as the Model Z. Successful experiments lasted long enough, offering customers various cars, including racing ones. But in 1936, due to a sudden financial crisis, production stopped and never resumed.