The Czech automotive industry has always been a leading industry leader. Production of Czech cars dates back to 1897, when for the first time in Central Europe a Tatra President car was delivered to the stream. Today, Tatra is one of the top three Czech car manufacturers, along with Skoda Auto and Karosa.
Since the mid-90s, thanks to close cooperation with the German concern Volkswagen, Czech automakers began to actively operate in Europe. In EU countries various models of Skoda Octavia and Skoda Felicia have well proved themselves. Characteristics of these Czech cars meet international standards.
Let’s observe all outstanding Czech car brands and find out what they are valued for.
Founder: Novotny (engineer)
Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
Aero was founded in 1929 by an engineer named Novotny, who had been trying to produce the first cars by himself for several years. The first models of Aero were based on such developments as the two-seater Disk, which received a single-cylinder two-stroke engine and friction gearbox, borrowed from the company Daimler. All car production took place at the aircraft factory in Prague, hence the name Aero.
The key decision of the manufacturer was to reduce the equipment of the cars to a minimum, which contributed to the low price of cars and, consequently, good demand. The next car designed by Novotny was the Enka model, which received a 0.5 liter engine with a power of 10 horsepower – one of the most powerful power units of the time.
In 1934, the Aero trucks are equipped with brakes on the front wheels. Sports cars Aero 662S, Aero 750, Aero 1000 with 26 horsepower were presented.
The last model introduced in 1937 was the Aero 50, which received a front drive and four seats.
In 1949, the production of trucks was transferred to the Prague company and the trucks were called Praga-150.
New developments, unfortunately, did not save Aero from economic difficulties. And in 1952, bankruptcy was declared.
Founder: Pavel Beneš, Miroslav Hajn
Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
Parent: Czechoslovak Group
AVIA Motors is a Czech company founded in 1919 to manufacture aircrafts. Since 1946, it also produced trucks and buses. The production of the aircraft was completed in 1963, when the construction of the IL-14 license was completed. In 1960-2000, it manufactured light and medium trucks.
In 1946, the production of Škoda 706R trucks and Škoda 706RO buses started, later Tatra 805 and Praga V3S (1961-1988) were introduced. Since 1963, parts of the OT-64 SKOT armored personnel carrier were produced here.
In 1967, the company purchased the license for the production of Renault SAVIEM SG2 and SG4 series vehicles with a capacity of 1.5 and 3 tons, which received the factory marking A15 and AZ0. A little later, a two-ton model A20 was presented.
The company suspended production of cars on July 31, 2013, continuing to produce spare parts.
On April 21, 2016, CZECHOSLOVAK GROUP a.s. became the owner of the company, which bought the plant from Ashok Leyland. On 13 July 2016, the company was renamed from Avia Ashok Leyland Motors s.r.o. to AVIA Motors. During 2017, the company’s production facilities were transferred from Prague to Prselouch, to the industrial zone of the new owner of CSG (Czechoslovak Group).
Headquarters: Smržovka, Czech Republic
Kaipan is a small Czech car company, which was founded in 1991 and produced its first car in 1997. The purpose of the company was to expand the Czech automotive market by producing sports convertibles.
The company specializes in the production of roadsters – so called two-seater cars with an open top. Such cars are very popular among those who have an income above average.
The first model was created on the basis of Lotus 7, which clearly indicates the desire to gain a foothold in the upper price segment. Other models are similar to Lotus, but have their own corporate identity, which distinguishes the brand among others.
Founder: Josef Sodomka
Headquarters: Josef Sodomka
The history of Karosa company started in 1896 when Josef Sodomka founded a company to produce coaches (‘karetas’). In 1948 the company was nationalized and became known as “Karosa”. In fact, Karosa became the only bus manufacturer in Czechoslovakia, and Škoda and Praga were unable to compete with it.
In the late 1950s, the 706RTO model was launched and won many awards at various international exhibitions. Later, intercity and articulated versions appeared, but they remained prototypes. In 1966 it was replaced by the Š-series and in 1981 by the 700 series. After the rejection of socialism in 1989, the company had to be rebuilt in a new way, and production was reduced by more than three times: from 3400 to 1000 machines per year.
But after the intervention of Renault, the situation began to improve, the company regained its name, the assembly began to be carried out on better equipment, modernization of all machines was carried out. In 1999, Karosa joined the Irisbus Group. In 2003 the controlling block of shares has been bought out, and since January, 1st, 2007 the factory was renamed into Iveco Czech Republic
Headquarters: Prague, Czech Republic
MTX was registered in 1969 in Czech Republic as a repair shop for racers using Skoda cars. A year later, the company’s mechanics presented their own single-seat racing car MTX 1-01.
In 1980, the MTX company produced a wide range of sports cars. The company’s products, made on Skoda and Lada chassis, participated in Formula Easter, buggy autocross, rally and other competitions. In 1990 “MTX” has let out a convertible on the basis of Skoda Rapid. A roadster was also presented, which was based on Skoda Favorit and convertible based on Felicia model of the same brand.
In 1991, the model of “super-sports” class, called MTX Tatra V8, came out of “MTX” shops. Its 3.9-liter V8 engine produced 306 horsepower, making the MTX the fastest Czech car in history at that time.
Headquarters: Prague, Czech republic
Owner: PRAGA-Export s.r.o.
Praga was founded in 1907 and still exists today. From 1947 to 2016 the brand specialized in trucks and military equipment (APCs, tanks, planes, karts), but in the spring of 2016, presented its first after a long break car, the supercar Praga R1R. Another famous model of this brand is Praga V3S, that’s considered to be one of the best off-road trucks.
n 2006, Praga was acquired by British International Truck Alliance with the aim to create trucks with the name of Praga in Lublin, Poland. In 2007 it produced gearboxes and water driven hardware.
In June 2011 the organization uncovered at Dutch Supercar Challenge in Belgium, the new vehicle Praga R4 with eight-chamber motor of 520 hp, which has not been so far homologated for typical street traffic.
In 2016, the organization designs first conveyances of supersport street autos Praga R1R, in a constrained release of 68 vehicles. It will be the primary street vehicle of Praga since 1947.
Founder: Václav Laurin & Václav Klement
Headquarters: Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic
Parent: Volkswagen Group
The company was founded in 1895 by the bookseller Vaclav Klement and his partner, the local mechanic Václav Laurín: together they began to produce bicycles of their own design. Then they switched to motorcycles and since 1905, started producing cars.
In the 1920s, Laurin & Klement, named after the founders, merged with the engineering company ŠKODA, and in the early 1990s ŠKODA joined the Volkswagen Group. Today, the car company from Mladá Boleslav, organized by two simple people who followed the principle of “Do it yourself if you want to do it well“, is one of the main motto of the Czech Republic’s economy.
The most famous models from Skoda are Octavia, Fabia, Felicia, and Favorit.
Founder: Ignaz Schustala
Headquarters: Kopřivnice, Moravia, Czech Republic
Parent: Czechoslovak Group
The Tatra company was founded in 1850 by Ignatz Shusthala under the name of “Schustala & Company”. The company produced prams and bricks. In 1860th years the firm had factories not only in territory of Czechia, but also in Berlin, Vienna, Wroclaw, Kiev and Chernovtsy.
In 1882, Tatra started producing railway cars, and in 1897, the company produced the first car in Central Europe and one of the first in the world – it was called President.
In 1918, a new name appeared (“Kopřivnická vozovka a.s.”), and in 1919 the company began to use a badge with the inscription “Tatra” – in honor of the Tatra mountain system. After the Second World War the company was nationalized. The company produced trucks and luxury cars until 1989.
On March 15, 2013, Tatra was sold at an auction to Truck Development.Currently, the company manufactures heavy trucks with a spine frame, which allows you to build lighter vehicles than with a load-bearing frame.
Headquarters: Brno, Czech Republic
The Zbrojovka plant was founded in 1918 to produce fire arms. But in 1926, it switched to production of cars, as well. They first automobiles from the Zbrojovka plant were produced under Disk brand name. Their main advantage was equipment with two-cylinder two-stroke engines with a volume of 0.6 liters and a friction gearbox. The power of the Disk was within 12 horsepower range. Later, the factory developed the Z model, and over time it was developed and upgraded.
In 1926, the Z-4 model was produced, equipped with a 1 liter engine with a capacity of 18 hp. A couple of years later, they began producing small batches of the Z-18 model – a two-seater open car equipped with in-line two-stroke 2-cylinder engine with a volume of 1 liter with a cylinder diameter of 80 mm and a stroke of 100 mm. The power limit of this model was 32 horsepower. The vehicle was also equipped with a spar frame with holes that allowed it to be lightened, a suspension on ¼ elliptical leaf springs, drum brakes on all wheels, as well as a manual four-speed gearbox.
Also in 1928, the Z-6V (or Z-2) model was released, which was positioned as a racing model. This car was equipped with a six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 1.1 liters with two compressors produced by Roots. The engine power was 68-75 hp.
Experiments continued for a long period of time. New modifications of the machines were created, shortcomings of the previous generations were improved, but in 1936, due to the notorious financial crisis, automobile production at the Zbrojovka plant was stopped.