The Czech Republic is known for a lot of things, including but not limited to the hundreds upon hundreds of castles to visit, amazing scenery, thousands of old mansions that will make your jaw drop and more specifically its vast and rich car industry history which is still looked into to this very day.
Despite being a jack of all trades, the Czech Republic is especially fond of its car industry because, like it or not, it is a massive part of their economy and one of the main driving forces of their influence overseas.
Yes, the Czech Republic is a fairly small country, but despite this they actually managed to cast quite a large shadow over the rest of the world simply by showing everyone what they can do.
Not only that, but over the past couple of years now many experts have speculated that the car industry in the Czech Republic will only grow from there, becoming even more influential in the near future because of their incredibly talented workforce, extremely good infrastructure and an overall love for the business.
The History of a Titan
Believe it or not though, but we did actually mean it when we said that a great majority of the country’s economy rests on the car industry. According to recent analytics, the automotive industry is by far the largest industry in the country, ranging at around 9% GDP which is relatively insane for a single industry to hold.
On top of that, the numbers don’t stop there as it is said that every year the industry is expanding, and considering the fact that currently they have over 800 active companies working day and night we can’t say that we disagree with that in the slightest.
One of the main reasons as to why the car industry is so successful though isn’t necessarily just how much of a workforce they have, but more so just how much of an influence they have overseas.
As mentioned previously, for the most part, they actually export their work overseas which has really helped them make a name for themselves. It is estimated that over 80% of all of their work is successfully exported which is quite insane when you stop and think about it.
But this shouldn’t come off as a surprise considering for how long they’ve been doing this to begin with. They’ve literally been in the field for over 122 years now, and they continued to stay at the top ever since they were first launched.
The Three Leading Manufacturers
While their exported items may be quite varied, their top manufacturers never change and that’s because they’ve been at it for so long that nobody can hope to reach the same numbers as they do.
These are the three leaders that nobody seems to be able to topple:
- Skoda Auto
- Hyundai Motor Company
- TPCA (Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen)
Together these three have actually completely saved the country’s economy over and over again and they’ve also managed to put their country on the map by driving them up the metaphorical economic ladder over the course of time.
Considering all of that, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise that the Czech Republic has pretty much one of the best capita outputs as far as the automotive industry goes. On top of all of that the country also has a lot of workers in the field, it has been estimated that there are currently well over 150,000 active workers on the line.
But what exactly are these three main manufacturers doing and most importantly, what makes a company really stand out from the crowd?
Let’s discuss this by presenting the leader in the industry, none other than Škoda Auto themselves.
- Years: 1895 – Present
- Founders: Václav Laurin & Václav Klement
- Headquarters: Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic
- Parent Company: Volkswagen Group
- Website: https://www.skoda-auto.com/
First off, we should mention the fact that Škoda Auto have been in the field for a very long time and they’ve just been ruling the market ever since their first car was released to the public.
Back in 2015 a study concluded the fact that around 57% of all passenger cars produced in the country were actually built by them which is no easy feat considering just how much of a battle uphill it is to manufacture cars that can really withstand the test of time.
They pride themselves in their functionality, reliability and quality, and who are we to say otherwise when all the signs out there point to this being the truth?
They export their work to well over 100 markets in total and it is said that they are continuing to get better and better results as time moves on. Most notably back in 2016 they actually made it to the world record book by producing and selling more than a million vehicles three years in a row.
On top of all of that, as we mentioned previously, these three, with Škoda Auto included of course, make most of their money off of exporting the cars offshore. This makes it all the more impressive that they have such a presence in their own country, which is just another reason as to why they’re at the top.
The Production is Rising
With all of that being said, you’d probably expect this to be the peak of the Czech automotive industry but no, it gets even crazier with time.
Back in 2014 a study was conducted on the Czech automotive industry specifically targeting their production numbers in order to see how good they really had it all along.
Well, the numbers were truly eye opening to say the least as according to them, the total number of vehicles produced in 2014 was around 1278 million in total.
If that wasn’t crazy enough then remember that that’s all just small commercial cars and personal vehicles. Other than this the study also revealed the fact that they were pioneers in other niches as well, with over 3,891 buses built, 1,075 motorcycles and a whopping 821 trucks in total.
It was said that back in 2015, these producers had an increase of over 14.7% which raised their income to CZK 99 billion. This number is said to gradually increase every year and so far they have not slowed down either.
But, when it comes to their big vehicle manufacturers, while Škoda Auto and the other two are still near the top they have not really managed to get the true leaders off of the podium as of today.
These three are the following:
- Iveco Bus
- SOR Libchavy
- Tatra Trucks
Iveco Bus create, as their name suggests, city and intercity busses that have really gotten a lot of attention lately because of how durable they can be.
Let’s be honest here, busses need to be quite resistant to make it on the field and they’ve been doing a perfectly serviceable job manufacturing what could be referred to as the best busses on the market.
SOR Libchavy have taken quite a different approach when it comes to their production line, mainly preferring to tackle the production of low-weight and even eco-friendly buses.
While certain more of a niche than any of the other manufacturers on this list, they have found themselves getting quite a lot of appraisals over the years because, while definitely more of a niche market than they’d prefer, they still managed to turn in quite a profit nonetheless.
Tatra Trucks is specifically targeting the off-road demographic, essentially creating what many would argue non-public use big vehicles that can really take a beating during extreme climate conditions.
They’ve been relatively successful in this niche, pretty much dominating the scene simply because the vehicles offered by them are a perfect blend of reliability per an affordable price tag.
A Potential Increase in the Future
As we mentioned before, the car industry in the Czech Republic has been very dominant over the years because of their overall quality and integrity.
It was said that as of this year, investors have led the country to create well over 10,000 new jobs in the market and they’ve pretty much made it so that even if you don’t have the most experience in the field, you can still make a decent living off of working in this business.
The investors have poured as much as EUR 1.4 billion in the industry and they’ve pretty much seen their investments pay off time and time again as they are becoming more influential on the market.
Experts have even stated that based on the country’s incredible track record we’re bound to see an uprise in the industry in the next couple of years, and that’s saying a lot considering the incredible history that we’ve displayed above.
This means that more and more investors have actually decided to get into this field and try to get their own profits going. While not all of them have been successful, a great majority of them have managed to make it so far which perfectly exemplified the potential that this country has in the industry.
Other than the 3 mentioned above however we also have the following Czech car brands that have been really helping the country out financially speaking:
- Years: 1929-1947
- Headquarters: Prague-Vysocany, Czech Republic
This Czech car company was first founded back in 1929 by an engineer that wanted to revolutionize the game little by little. For example, he wanted to develop a two-seater disk and among others he has managed to attract a lot of attention over the years for being extremely innovative and smart about his choices.
But, as it turns out, trying out new things doesn’t always pan out and unless your investors are ready to take the fall for you, you won’t be making it too far into the game. That’s exactly what happened to Aero since they completely shut down as of 1947 due to people no longer trusting the brand.
- Years: 1919 – Present
- Founders: Pavel Beneš, Miroslav Hajn
- Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
- Website: https://www.avia.cz/
Avia Motors hit the scenes back in 1919 but strangely enough they didn’t start off manufacturing cars but aircrafts instead.
Soon after though they went into the truck and bus industry and before long, they really made a name for themselves after purchasing the license for the Renault SAVIEM SG2 and SG4 series.
- Years: 1992 – Present
- Headquarters: Smržovka, Czech Republic
- Website: https://www.kaipan.cz/
A more modern manufacturing company, Kaipan have really showcased the fact that you don’t need to have an incredibly rich history in order to hit the scene and take the lead.
They mainly dabbled in the sports convertible industry and they’ve been making some relatively incredible looking cars over the years. Their Lotus 8 for example was a masterpiece in the making and they’ve only gotten better at their craft with age.
- Years: 1896 – 1999
- Founders: Josef Sodomka
- Headquarters: Vysoké Mýto, Czech Republic
- Parent Company: Iveco Bus
Going back in time we have Karosa, a company that was first established in 1896. Back then, it was the only bus manufacturer in Czechoslovakia and because of it they pretty much dominated the scene right off the bat.
They especially turned a lot of heads with their 706RTO model, even winning a couple of awards and becoming known as the premium bus manufacturer on the market. Sadly however, they couldn’t keep up with the new age busses and as of 1999 they stopped producing vehicles altogether.
Fast forward a few years and in 2007 the company changed its name to Iveco Czech Republic and starting producing buses under the name Irisbus.
- Years: 1969 – Present
- Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
- Website: https://www.mtx.cz/
MTX first started off as a simple repair shop for Skoda cars but before long they eventually hit the scene with their very own car, known as the MTX 1-01.
With that incredible success they decided that they were ready to take on the big teams so they quickly started dishing out more and more convertibles to offset their competition.
They even added a super-sports class back in 1991 with their one of a kind MTX Tatra V8. Check it out, it’s insane to say the least.
- Years: 1907 – Present
- Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
- Website: https://www.pragaglobal.com/
Praga on the other hand have a very different history to be perfectly honest. When they first hit the scene in 1907, they tackled the military equipment niche for the most part, trying to manufacture stuff like APCs, tanks and whatnot.
It took them a while but eventually in 2016 they came out with a completely different release, that being their very first supercar known as the Praga R1R.
Notably so they also brought in the Praga V3S during this time period which is most certainly one of the best off-road trucks in the world.
- Years: 1918 – Present
- Headquarters: Brno, Czech Republic
Another relatively interesting history, Zbrojovka started off back in 1918 producing fire arms but hey, that does make sense considering the heavy demand that there was for this niche back in the day.
When they first started manufacturing cars however, they did so under the Disk brand name which helped them out a ton, giving them an edge over their competition.
They continued to revolutionize their releases, eventually even releasing the Z-6V or Z-2 for short model which is still considered to be an incredible racing model to this very day.
All in all, though, Zbrojovka are pretty much known for never sticking to just one style and instead always trying to one up their competition by changing it up. While this has proven to be effective over the years, they’ve also released some blunders too, making their journey quite fascinating.
Sadly however, this journey would come to an end as of 1936 simply because they made one too many bad choices along the way.
- Years: 2010 – Present
- Founder: Maurice Ward
- Headquarters: Štěnovice, Czech Republic
- Website: https://www.nwmotorz.cz
The interesting part behind the MW Motors / Luka EV brand is the fact that they are an all electric car manufacturing company which has been pretty well regarded over the years.
They first launched back in 2010 with the Luka EV and they’ve shown off quite a lot of interesting designs during this time period. They even stated in an interview that they based their newest model off of the Tatra JK 2500 but they made some relative changes by making it a lot more powerful with a battery that can last for up to 300km in total.
- Years: 1929– Present
- Founder: František Janeček
- Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
- Parent Company: Jihostroj
- Website: https://www.jawamotorcycles.com/
Despite starting off as just another motorcycle brand, Jawa soon made a name for itself as an incredible car manufacturer as well thanks to the fact that they never stopped or slowed down even with World War II happening in the background.
The Jawa 600 Minor was an incredible success and they essentially have been on top of their game since. This is one of those car brands that continues on giving even after people believe that it’s done and its ideas are futile.
To wrap this up, the Czech Republic has definitely become a staple of the vehicle industry thanks to their incredible manufacturers and the many investors that saw the potential in them.
While definitely on the rise, many have claimed that this is but the beginning for the country’s potential and for good reason too. We have no real way of discerning otherwise, but from what we’ve seen so far we do have to say that the Czech Republic will continue to be at the top for many years in the future.