Newly released Czech automobile production figures for the first half of 2017 point to a continued boom in an industry that has been driving the economy in recent years. After record output in 2016, the first six months of this year saw domestic auto manufacturing grow by a further 5.1 percent.
The fresh data comes courtesy of the Automotive Industry Association (AutoSAP), which represents around 150 companies in the field of Czech automotive manufacturing. In total, domestic companies produced 756,468 cars between January and July of this year. That is an all-time record, up 5.1 percent on the previous year.
Zdeněk Petzl, executive director of the Automotive Industry Association expressed his delight at the news:
“Overall, we have seen a more than 5.0 percent year-on-year increase in production during the first six months of 2017. That means a return to levels not seen since prior to 2009. And current trends, both in the Western countries to which we export and also within the Visegrad Four bloc, are very positive.”
The Czech Republic is a major site for European car manufacturing, most significantly by Škoda Auto, based in the town of Mladá Boleslav. During the first six months of 2017, the largest Czech automotive manufacturer increased production by 13.5 percent, producing 459,526 cars. Hyundai Motor has a production plant in the town of Nošovice in the far north east of the Czech Republic spanning 200 hectares. It, too, saw an increase in production of half a percent. By contrast, Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech (TPCA), which operates a large plant near the town of Kolín, east of Prague, saw production fall by 15 percent.
Zdeněk Petzl points out that there is more to the industry than cars:
“Of course car production serves as the major driver of Czech automobile production, but we have also managed to achieve a year-on-year increase in bus production of five percent. And with freight vehicles the increase is almost fifty percent.”
Czech truck producer Tatra Trucks has a plant in the eastern Moravian town of Kopřivnice. It saw an increase in production of 46.7 percent with a total of 776 vehicles produced. The largest decline was in the motorcycle production sector, which fell year-on-year by almost twenty percent. Jawa is the country’s major motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in 1929, the firm is based in Týnec nad Sázavou just south of Prague. In the first six months of 2017, it produced 866 motorcycles, with around a tenth being sold on the Czech market. Cuba and Argentina account for a large number of Jawa exports.
Meanwhile, bus manufacturing, largely fuelled by firm IVECO and its plant in the town of Vysoké Mýto, increased by 4.8 percent to 2,318 vehicles. The data also indicates that production is not merely being driven by exports – AutoSAP’s numbers show a 9.4 percent increase in domestic sales.