JTEKT steers significant investment into Plzeň plant

Photo: archive of JTEKT

A Czech daughter company of Japanese car giant Toyota produces steering systems for a range of European small cars. After a modest start, JTEKT now has three Czech production sites and it is targeting it’s Plzeň facility for a 700 million crown investment over the next three years.

Photo: archive of JTEKT
For a company that won a 2014 award as one of the best Czech firm in the auto sector employing more than 250 people, JTEKT is not that well known outside the industry. But it has experienced rocketing growth since making its debut in the Czech Republic in 2006 and the prospects for more of the same are encouraging.

JTEKT – which apparently stands for Japan, Joint, Joy coupled with the Greek word for superior technical skills – now employs around 750 people at its plant in PLzeň and sister sites at Pardubice and Olomouc. And now an investment of 700 million crowns at the West Bohemian site is planned over the next three years and the total workforce is expected to rise to around 800.

The overall aim is to produce parts in-house which hitherto have been bought in from other suppliers. The aim is also to in future widen the scope of the Plzeň site and also start concentrating on product and manufacturing development and not just solely the manufacturing process itself.

JTEKT produces steering systems for cars, more than three million units a year are mostly directed towards small European cars. The Czech production finds it way into the Dacia Logan, Peugeot 208, Škoda Fabia, Toyota Yaris, and Volkswagen Polo. JTEKT itself belongs to the Toyota Group. Initially the steering equipment was also exclusively targeted at the TPCA joint venture car plant at Kolín. Now, TPCA counts for just around a fifth of demand. The Plzeň-based business last year made around 500 million crowns in profit on turnover of around 10.6 billion crowns. That is around double the turnover of only two years ago.

Turnover this year is expected to climb to around 11.6 billion crowns. But it has not all been plain sailing. During the depth of the economic crisis, JTEKT was forced to lay off some of its Czech workforce and place some of its workers elsewhere.