By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Iveco Bus Europe

AS THE LARGEST bus manufacturing plant in Europe, the Vysoké Mýto Iveco Bus facility - located 180km east of the Czech Republic capital city Prague – has celebrated its 125-year anniversary of production, the company announced recently.

This 125th anniversary is, above all, an opportunity to highlight the constant innovations achieved by Josef Sodomka Jr. and his successors, Iveco explains.

Home to local iconic companies Sodomka and Karosa, the Iveco Vysoke Myto plant has a long-lasting tradition of producing intercity buses and coaches since foundation 125 years ago, the company explains.

With more than 3,800 employees, plus 1,700 subcontractors, it is one of the largest employers in the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, and Europe’s largest bus manufacturer, with more than 4,000 vehicles made per year, Iveco confirms.

This 125th anniversary is, above all, an opportunity to highlight the constant innovations achieved by Josef Sodomka Jr. and his successors, Iveco explains. Original technical solutions have become the basis for the launch of new bus model ranges, many of which have been world-renowned and welcomed passengers for decades, it adds.

There are five key models that originated from the Vysoké Mýto plant that Iveco Bus is highlighting during its milestone. These are:

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Škoda 706 RTO

Although the first bus left the local factory in 1928, the production of buses did not start in full force until the 1950s. At that time, the main program of the Vysoké Mýto plant became the production of the Škoda 706 RO models developed in Mladá Boleslav, Iveco says.

Since 1956 it has been followed by the Škoda 706 RTO model, one of the design symbols of Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. In 1960 the Karosa plant made the first articulated bus in Czechoslovakia. During series manufacturing until 1971, 14,969 buses were made in the design for urban, intercity and long-distance transport, it says.

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Karosa Š 11

From 1965 the production of Š 11 series buses gradually kept developing in Karosa, Iveco states. The outstanding feature resulting from the fact that the whole vehicle consisted of six main prefabricated panels boosted this product up to the leading position on a global scale, it confirms. In total the plant made 26,769 Š 11 buses.

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Karosa 700

The successful and popular ‘ŠMs’ were replaced by the new 700 range, in the production of which a panel construction system was also used, says Iveco. However, the innovation consisted in moving the engine and transmission behind the rear axle. From the beginning of series production in 1981 until its end in 1999, a total of 37,166 of all types of vehicles in this range left the plant gates, Iveco says.

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Karosa 900

After the privatisation of the company in 1993, Karosa started the development of a new product range 900. The most important Récréo model was the first bus to have a significant impact on Western markets, especially in France, Germany and Italy, says Iveco.

Thanks to the relevant penetration of the 900 series into new markets, the production of these buses tripled between 1995 and 2006. A total of 13,071 buses were manufactured, almost half of which were exported to France.

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The Crossway

The start of production of the Crossway range dates to 2006, which has gradually become the most successful intercity bus with more than 45,000 units sold, Iveco explains.

The vehicles designed for urban or intercity transport have a built-in six-cylinder Iveco engine, together with a ZF or Voith gearbox. The majority of these vehicles from Vysoké Mýto are exported into mostly European countries, but it is also successfully exported into Africa, Iveco says.

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Iveco Bus is a brand of CNH Industrial N.V., a global leader in capital goods listed on the New York Stock Exchange and on the Borsa Italiana in Milan, it states.

A major player in the field of public transport, and among the leading bus and coach manufacturers in Europe, Iveco Bus designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of vehicles that meets all the needs of public and private operators:

- school, intercity and tourism coaches;

- standard and articulated city buses, including BRT dedicated versions;

- minibuses for all passenger transport missions, it explains.

Iveco Bus benefits from a strong expertise in alternative energies vehicles and is now capable of offering a complete range running on compressed natural gas – fully compatible with biomethane – and in the electro-mobility field, to suit every kind of transport need, it adds.

The company employs more than 5,000 people across four production units in Annonay and Rorthais, France; Vysoké Myto, Czech Republic; and Brescia, Italy.

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