Iveco Bus marked the 120th anniversary of the foundation of the Vysoké Mýto plant, in the Czech Republic, with a week of celebrations dedicated to employees and the general public. The events culminated on Thursday, June 4, when the company’s management welcomed government officials, international press and customers.
The event was attended by Jan Hamáček, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Mr. Andrej Babiš, Minister of Finance and Mr. Amati Aldo, Italian Ambassador to the Czech Republic. Guests were welcomed by Pierre Lahutte, Iveco Brand President, Sylvain Blaise, Head of Global Bus at CNH Industrial and Jiří Vaněk, Head of Iveco Czech Republic.
With a surface area of more than 225,000 m2 and production of more than 3,000 vehicles a year, the Vysoké Mýto plant, Iveco’s main establishment in the Czech Republic, is the largest commercial vehicle production complex in Central and Eastern Europe and one of the major bus production facilities in Europe. Iveco is a key employer in the Czech Republic: Vysoké Mýto employs more than 3,100 employees and provides work for another 1,700 people under subcontracts.
At the press conference held during the event Pierre Lahutte, Iveco Brand President, commented: “Today Iveco Bus is making a major contribution to the growth of the Czech economy: in 2014 alone the Vysoké Mýto plant produced 3,288 buses, 94% of which has been for the European market, particularly for France, followed by Germany, Benelux, Slovakia and Italy. We are very proud to be able to celebrate the activity and continual growth of this plant, which plays a key role in the country’s economy and where Iveco has made the most important investment that a company can make: investing in the future”.
It was Josef Sodomka, artisan and entrepreneur, who marked the beginning of the plant’s history when he started his business in Vysoké Mýto in 1895. Over the years the visionary Czech entrepreneur’s company has become one of the main bus production hubs, and has made an impact on the country’s economic history through the various brands that have transpired over the years, right up to Iveco Bus.
Iveco Bus produces the Urbanway bus in Vysoké Mýto, which is designed for public transport in urban areas, and the Crossway, the top vehicle in the intercity range, which was first created at the Czech plant. Conceived for intercity and school transport, its qualities as a reliable and multi-purpose vehicle make the Crossway the leading intercity vehicle in Europe. Of the more than 24,000 units manufactured, about 3,200 were produced in 2014.
“The Crossway," commented Sylvain Blaise, Head of Global Bus at CNH Industrial, "is a milestone in the history of Vysoké Mýto, and it was the vehicle that most contributed to reaching the record number of a total of 120,000 buses manufactured in the plant since its foundation.”
In his speech, Sylvain Blaise also drew attention to the historical legacy upon which Iveco Bus is founded, as well as on the brand’s future, with a focus on production aspects, sustainable mobility and holding a leadership position in Europe for the alternative fuel sector, particularly methane. “Many cities in Europe", commented Blaise, "are investing in natural gas and hybrids and we support this praiseworthy choice with our vehicles. Iveco and Iveco Bus are European leaders in the sector of natural gas powered vehicles, with more than 25 years’ experience”.
Guests were able to visit the plant and attend a presentation on the history of Iveco Bus and on its current position as one of the sector’s leaders in Europe. The discussion then moved on to future developments concerning the Vysoké Mýto plant and the important role the plant plays in employment for the region.
During the event, guests had the opportunity to attend the official presentation of Aleš Loprais, the Czech driver who has become an official member of the PETRONAS DE ROOY IVECO Team, which provides further confirmation of the strong link between Iveco and the Czech Republic. Presenting the driver, Lahutte said: “From today, Aleš will compete with Iveco’s colours and with the colours of the Czech Republic throughout the world and will be able to rely on a fan base of more than 3,100 employees who work at Vysoké Mýto”.
Among the vehicles exhibited of the Iveco and Iveco Bus ranges, the Iveco Powerstar -
the vehicle that faced the most famous rally in the world, the Dakar - attracted the public’s attention: even the most authoritative person, as the President Hamáček, tested its strength and robustness.