The Tatra Trucks company rose like a Phoenix from the ashes ten years ago
Tatra, one of the most famous Czech industrial brands and a manufacturer of heavy trucks with a unique chassis concept, is celebrating 10 years since its Czech owners took over and breathed new life into it. On April 20, 2013, the Office for the Protection of Economic Competition confirmed the transaction in which the Czech business families Strnad and Matera took control of Tatra.
The prelude to this was the foreclosure auction, which took place on March 15 at the enforcement office in Cheb. The company Tatra a.s. was put up for auction due to the decision on enforcement, which was announced by the district court in Nový Jičín due to the company's inability to pay its obligations. The auction was won by Truck Development a.s. company, which was later renamed Tatra Trucks a.s. The winning bid was in the amount of CZK 176 million.
In the Tatra Trucks company, two shareholders, Czech business families, joined forces: the Strnads with their Czechoslovak Group (CSG) holding and the Materas with the Promet Group holding. CSG's share is 65 percent and Promet Group's share is 35 percent. This partnership has been going on for ten years and has brought unprecedented prosperity to the oldest Czech automotive company. The new owners managed to quickly turn the company into a profit. From March 2013 to November 2014, when the first accounting period under the new owners was calculated, Tatra Trucks had a pre-tax profit of CZK 435 million on sales of CZK 5.5 billion.
In April 2022, Tatra announced that it had already produced 10,000 trucks under Czech owners. Since then, the company has already added another thousand. In 2022, Tatra produced and sold a total of 1,326 vehicles and earned CZK 7.12 billion. For comparison, in 2012, the last year when it was under the control of foreign shareholders through Tatra a.s., it produced around 400 vehicles.
David Chour, deputy chairman of CSG's board of directors, says on the ten-year anniversary of Tatra under Czech ownership: "Tatra Trucks represents the flagship of CSG and its automotive division. Its unique chassis bring synergistic effects to other companies of our holding: they are used, for example, for the production of military vehicles and systems of our companies Excalibur Army and TDV."
Denisa Materová, a member of the board of Promet Group, states: "Thanks to the fact that we manage to develop the Tatra, not only a number of supplier companies prosper, but also local communities, which we try to support in the long term. We systematically implement large-scale investments in the modernization and greening of our production companies, which we perceive as the main way forward. We are proud of the fact that Tatra Trucks is one of the main pillars of the Promet Group, in addition to wagon production or engineering."
Tatra Trucks is not resting on its laurels: the plan for 2023 is to produce and sell 1,700 vehicles and gradually increase the production capacity to 2,500 vehicles. Currently, Tatra is in a situation where production is not enough to meet global demand.
Three key innovations
A truck that meets Euro 6 emission standards
In 2014, thanks to cooperation with the DAF company, Tatra presented a new Tatra Phoenix with engines in Euro 6 specification, which went on sale at the beginning of 2015. Tatra was thus able to offer customers in the domestic and most developed Western markets a heavy truck that meets the strictest emission limits providing at the same time, high performance with favourable operating economy. At the same time, it also met demanding requirements for safety and comfort for the driver. Thanks to this truck, Tatra has become an equal competitor to established and renowned brands in many segments of the civilian market.
Modernization of cabins of the Tatra Force series
In 2016, the production of cabins of the Tatra Force model series underwent a significant modernization. New production technologies began to be used, which mainly brought lower cabin weight and better anti-corrosion characteristics. The original concept was replaced by gluing flat aluminum parts into the basic welded structure of the cabin made of steel profiles. Also new was the extension of the range with an extended four-door cabin variant, which complemented the standard two-door design. In addition, Tatra began to offer armored cabins in short and long versions.
The new generation of the Tatra Force series
Tatra Force is a key type in Tatra's offer for the civil and defense sectors. In 2022, the development of the new generation of this model series, which will be presented this year, started in full swing. It will receive a new cabin in both short and long versions, which will bring fundamental changes in the interior, in the ergonomics of control and equipment. The new Tatra Force will mean significant progress in the field of electronic equipment, safety and comfort for the crew. Tatra will also build alternative drive systems into this platform, including fuel cells or hybrid systems.
Three important orders
At the beginning of 2021, Tatra, together with DAF and Tatra Defense Vehicle, won a tender for almost 900 logistics trucks for the Belgian army. For Tatra, it was the first such large-scale order in Western Europe, i.e. in a very competitive market, where it succeeded in direct confrontation with renowned and established manufacturers.
In 2021, Tatra also succeeded in Germany, when it won a contract for the supply of 77 special fire vehicles for the Bundeswehr in a tender. It was able to succeed even against domestic manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz. It thus followed up on the order for almost 50 firefighting special trucks for the federal state of Brandenburg from the previous year.
In 2022, Tatra proved its flexibility in relation to the Czech army. At the end of August and the beginning of September, the Ministry of Defense ordered 209 logistics Tatra trucks in the 6x6 version and 80 hook loaders on Tatra 8x8 chassis through an urgent procurement method in connection with the deteriorating security situation. In accordance with the terms of the contracts, Tatra was able to deliver over two hundred of the ordered trucks by the end of 2022.
Three initiatives in the field of social responsibility and history
New Museum of Tatra trucks in Kopřivnice
The construction of the new Tatra Truck Museum is one of the important achievements of the company towards its own history. The museum, in which you can see eight dozen Tatra commercial vehicles and trucks, was inaugurated on November 16, 2021 and stands on the site of a former foundry. In 2022, it won first prize in the Gloria Musaealis National Museum Competition.
Renovation of Slovenská strela and a new depository
The renovation of the legendary train Slovenská strela took more than two years and the entire project came to 118 million crowns. The renovated train was presented to the public for the first time on October 8, 2021 at the Main Railway Station in Prague, when it arrived at platform No. 1, from where it traveled to Bratislava in the 1930s. The new Slovenská strela depository, which is located on the grounds of the Tatra Truck Museum, was also completed in 2021.
The Tatra company has long been involved in the protection of the Větřkovice Reservoir, which it also owns with adjacent land. In the past years, the Tatra Trucks has taken several important steps to increase the water level in the dam and also to improve the quality of services in the field of tourism in the vicinity of the dam. In 2019, Tatra Trucks built a new cafeteria, sanitary facilities and an information board in the area of the dam.