Although many people do not realize it, some of the finest cars the world has ever known have come from the Czech Republic. In 1850 Tatra was founded as a manufacturer of wagons. In 1897 it produced its first automobile, making it the third oldest automobile manufacturer in the world, behind only Daimler-Benz and Peugeot.
In 1934 it produced its first Tatra 77, a hand built automobile. Sleek and aerodynamically designed, it was considered to be state of the art. Not only did it have leather upholstery, but it also had its steering wheel mounted in the center of the dashboard. It could easily reach a cruising speed of 90 miles per hour. Although only 249 were built, it was owned by many of the world's elite. Tatra continued to make cars until 1996 when it began to focus solely on its truck manufacturing business.
Another manufacturer of automobiles in the Czech Republic is 'koda Auto. With the exception of North America, its cars are sold all over the world. Originally founded in 1895, it produces well over 750,000 cars each year. Although based in the Czech Republic, it also has manufacturing plants in China, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Slovakia, and the Ukraine.
'koda currently has seven different models: the Fabia, the Roomster, the Octavia, the Octavia Tour, the Yeti, the Superb, and the Praktik. The Yeti, the first Czech-made SUV, was named the 2010 Car of the Year by the Czech Motoring Journalists Club. It received more votes than both the Opel Astra and the Mercedes E-Class. Each of 'koda's models appeals to a slightly different consumer, but all are produced with cutting edge technology. Not only does 'koda endeavor to build the world's finest automobiles, but it is also committed to assuring complete customer satisfaction after the sale.
With a long and proud history beginning in the 19th century, the Czech auto industry will certainly continue well into the 21st century and beyond.