Tatra was founded in 1850 as Schustala & Company, and was later renamed Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft when it became a wagon and carriage manufacturer. In 1897, Tatra produced the first motor car in central Europe, and one of the first cars in world, the Präsident automobile.
In 1918, it changed its name to Kopřivnická vozovka a.s., and in 1919 started to use the Tatra badge, in deference to the nearby mountains of the same name in Slovakia. During WW2 Tatra was instrumental in the production of trucks, and tank engines for the German war effort, but resumed production of its innovative rear-engined cars in the following years. Production of passenger cars ceased in 1999, after a series of cars whose lineage could be directly traced back to the pre-war era. However, but the company continues today, producing a range of primarily all-wheel-drive 4×4, 6×6, 8×8, 10×10, and 12×12 trucks.