How expensive were cars 20 years ago? Even the cheapest models would cost twice as much today

The best-selling imported car was the Peugeot 206, the MPV sold twice as well as the SUV, and the Škoda Superb was just about to take control of the middle class. This is just a detailed description of the Czech car market twenty years ago, ie in 2001. Many models at the time now offer used cars at literally dumped prices. But how much did these cars cost as new?


Market in 2001

The year 2001 was not a turning point for the Czech car market. Most importers were able to establish themselves in the 90s and the offer of new cars was very diverse for the end customer. Sales were dominated by the first generation of the Škoda Fabia in three body variants, pursued by the Octavia, and there was still great interest in the Felicia - although 2001 was the last year for it to leave the winged arrow factory as new.


But it wasn't just about Skoda models. The Czech market has also followed a trend called Peugeot 206, which has become a bestseller practically everywhere it has appeared. And some exotic markets still enjoy it today. Twenty years ago, the French supermini took the crown for the best-selling imported car in the Czech Republic, and only 4105 units were needed. He was chased unconventionally by the Opel Astra and Volkswagen Passat.


Dacia was then a forgotten brand, popular practically only in Romania and the surrounding area. It took another three years for Logan's performance. Twenty years ago, the most popular Korean carmaker was Daewoo - today, for example, few people remember the extremely popular Matiz city truck. Lada was also officially represented in the Czech Republic, selling more cars than, for example, the Kia or Subaru.


For two decades, the sales market shook the Czech market really well, which also applies to the prices of new cars. We reached into the archive, opened the period Autokatalog for the model year 2002 from the autumn of 2001, and went through the attached price list there. And we found out that cars 20 years ago were definitely not cheaper than today (of course, there are a number of factors that affect price changes). At least in proportion to the average earnings. Even for a cheap car in the city, it was necessary to earn much longer than now. There is no point in talking about the level of equipment - if today a car without air conditioning is practically unsaleable, then its absence in the basic equipment did not surprise almost anyone.


So take a look at how much the selected cars cost twenty years ago. In context, let us state that the average gross monthly wage in 2001 was a total of 14,378 crowns. For comparison: last year, according to the Czech Statistical Office, the same indicator had a value of 35,611 crowns. At the same time, of course, the standard of living and prices of many other things have risen.


The median wage, ie their average value (half of the employees take less and half on the contrary), was only slightly lower than the full-year average of wages in the last quarter. For the purposes of this article and the recalculation of prices, let us assume that it is possible to defer one average gross salary each month.


Cheapest Fabia

The back parts of the first fabia are considered by the current designers to be very successful. The latest generation of the same car refers to them, in a way. | Photo: Škoda Auto
The back parts of the first fabia are considered by the current designers to be very successful. The latest generation of the same car refers to them, in a way. | Photo: Škoda Auto

In 2001, Felicia's production was still running, but at the same time, the sale of her successor named Fabia was already in full swing. The car, which was more advanced in all respects, was sold at a significantly higher price. Shaved basic equipment with a breathable three-cylinder liter with an output of 37 kW (acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h took 21.6 seconds) was based on 249,900 crowns. Air conditioning? Forget it. Radio? Instead, there was only a free storage shelf on the center panel. The main element of the equipment was actually the only airbag, the one for the driver.


Nevertheless, even in 2001, the applicant had to save one average gross monthly salary for about a year and a half.


For comparison, currently, the cheapest Fabia costs price list 279,900 crowns. Under the hood is a slightly thicker three-cylinder three-cylinder with 44 kW, but the basic equipment includes air conditioning, radio, electric front windows, or six airbags. And one average salary can be set aside for eight months.


Octavia family diesel

Škoda Octavia Combi TDI - you've probably read many times about it being a family ideal. Twenty years ago, a station wagon with a 1.9 TDI with an output of 66 kW under the hood was based on Ambietne equipment for 538,900 crowns. With a purely theoretical postponement of one average monthly salary, the applicant needed 38 of them in order to be able to afford the car. At the same time, the equipment was definitely not as extensive as it is today logically from safety, but also from a comfort point of view.


Today, those interested in the diesel Octavia Combi need at least 550,900 crowns for the variant with a two-liter turbodiesel with an output of 85 kW. And so he has to set aside an average salary for 16 months.


The best-selling foreign car - Peugeot 206

The best-selling foreign car in 2001 was the Peugeot 206, which, according to the Association of Car Importers, sold 4,105 units. Partly thanks to the rich offer of both engines and body variants. The hatchback with three and five doors was complemented by a convertible, and a practical station wagon was soon to arrive. If you were interested in a model with a 44 kW petrol engine and a three-door body was enough, you had to prepare at least 269,900 crowns. This meant the need to save an average salary for 19 months.


Again for comparison, let us state that the Peugeot 208 starts today with a five-door and a three-cylinder with an output of 55 kW at 350 thousand crowns. From the current average salary, you will save on it in ten months.


Renault Clio V6

Among the sharp hatchbacks, you may not find a crazier series model than the Clio V6. Renault gave its sports division in Dieppe the task of producing a small car with a 2.9-liter six-cylinder instead of rear seats, rear-wheel drive, and a manual transmission. The ride may not have been the finest or most refined model, but no one has tried to equip such a small car with such a large engine in series production. And in 2001 it was possible to order a car in the Czech Republic. A piece from the so-called first phase, which had an engine tuned to 166 kW, came to 1,330,000 crowns. Yes, even Clio could have cost 1.3 million crowns two decades ago. And it would take almost eight years to save for him.


Volkswagen Golf IV

Volkswagen Golf IV
Volkswagen Golf IV

Although it was beaten among compact models by the Opel Astra, the fourth-generation Golf was still one of the best-selling imported cars in the Czech Republic. Twenty years ago, 2,627 units were sold, despite the fact that the basic price tag exceeded 400,000 crowns. The importer charged 412,900 crowns for a car with a 55-liter petrol engine with an output of 55 kW and three doors (yes, the Golf was offered as a three- and five-door hatchback, station wagon, convertible, and Bora sedan). At least that's what the period catalog says. On the compact model, one had to put an average monthly salary of fewer than 2.5 years.


Today, the cheapest Golf with an 81kW supercharged liter three-cylinder costs 508,900 crowns and it only takes 15 months to save on it.


Favorite MPV - Citroën Xsara Picasso

In 2001, the MPV registered twice as many units sold as in the SUV - a thing practically unimaginable from today's point of view. The segment was dominated by two French models, the Renault Mégane Scénic and the Citroën Xsara Picasso. The family-run five-seater model with a double arrow was offered with petrol and diesel engines, while with a 2.0 HDI turbodiesel with an output of 66 kW and equipped with air conditioning or two airbags, it cost 550,000 crowns. Twenty years ago, this meant an average monthly salary for a period exceeding three years.


For comparison, the Citroën Grand C4 SpaceTourer today with 96kW turbodiesel comes to at least 579,900 crowns and only 17 months are needed to save it.


Opel Zafira

Although French models from Citroën and Renault dominated sales of the MPV segment, the Opel Zafira was the third at the rear, but it was not that far. At the same time, the compact German MPV, like its competitors, had a rich offer of engines, where petrol units played the leading role. As with the Xsara Picasso, however, we will choose a variant with a diesel engine as a model, namely a 74kW two-liter DTI. Twenty years ago, it cost from 729,900 crowns, says the price list in the period car catalog. It would take 51 than average monthly salaries to save for such a car.


Today, the Zafira is no longer a compact MPV, under the name Zafira Life, a personal version of the Vivaro van is sold, which starts at 931,990 crowns with a 106kW turbodiesel. The applicant must save from the current average salary for about twice as short a time as 20 years ago. Specifically 27 months.


Hyundai Santa Fe

The history of Hyundai Santa Fe can be traced back to the beginning of the 21st century. At the time, it was the only SUV of the Korean manufacturer, although it was complemented in the model line by the angular off-road Terracan. The main part of the offer twenty years ago consisted of petrol engines, one even with six cylinders. But there was also a turbodiesel - 2.0 CRDi with an output of 83 kW and all-wheel drive. The GLS equipment, including manual air conditioning and four airbags, cost 829,900 crowns. This means the former average monthly salary for less than five years.


Today, the price for Santa Fe is practically the same. With a 148kW 2.2 CRDi turbodiesel, but powered only by the front axle, Hyundai will come to 849,990 crowns. He only earns a much shorter time from it - for the current average monthly salary of about two years.


Mitsubishi Pajero

The Mitsubishi Pajero was still in great shape at the beginning of the 21st century. There was interest in him in Europe and the Czech Republic, and his name was rightly associated with adjectives as a terrain legend. However, if you were interested in the Japanese model, it was not a cheap affair. After all, the version with a three-door body, a 3.2 DI-D turbodiesel with an output of 121 kW, all-wheel drive, and a manual transmission cost 1,107,500 crowns in the GLX equipment. It would take 6.5 years to save one average monthly salary for this amount twenty years ago.


Mercedes-Benz E-Class

In 2001, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class E-Generation W210 was an experienced fighter in the field of upper-middle-class cars. At the time when the three-pointed star changed to rounded outer shapes, it still had an iconic square body. Both in the sedan version and as a station wagon. The top diesel version of the E 320 CDI with a six-cylinder tuned to 145 kW was popular. At the same time, it cost 1,647,000 crowns with a four-door body or the then average monthly salary for more than 9.5 years.


Even at a price of 1,833,150 crowns, the current E-Class with a six-cylinder diesel, which means the E 300 d 4Matic variant, is earned significantly faster. Even less than 4.5 years.


Dacia is still among the cheapest

While today Dacia is one of the most popular imported car manufacturers, twenty years ago there was practically no interest in it on the Czech market. There was only one model on offer, the old SupeRNova, which had a number of elements from the Renault Clio, for example, and its development began in the 1980s. It is no wonder that 28 customers opted for the Romanian car for the whole year.


At the same time, as now, it was one of the cheapest cars on the market. SupeRNova cost from 199 thousand crowns. All this with a 55kW fourteen petrol engine. Theoretically, it required only 14 monthly salaries.


Dacia's current situation is different when it comes to market position, but not so much when it comes to prices. The new Sandero is also one of the cheapest new cars in the Czech Republic, costing from 239,900 crowns (albeit with a weaker liter three-cylinder). Only the average wage has risen significantly, so in theory, it only takes seven months to save on a new Romanian car.


Lada as a leading post-communist car manufacturer

Leaving aside Škoda, Dacia is by far the most popular post-communist car manufacturer on the Czech market today. Twenty years ago, this position was occupied by Lada, which today does not even have an official importer, and its models are transported from Russia individually. The most popular model of the carmaker from Tolyatti was a 2110 sedan two decades ago (a total of 191 units sold), the development of which began in the 1980s. Samara's successor with a fifteen-liter petrol engine with an output of 57 kW cost 237,900 crowns. For less than a year and a half, you could save, for example, on a basic Fabia or just a Russian car.


SsangYong as expensive as Audi

We wrote in the introduction that the most successful Korean carmaker twenty years ago was not Hyundai, but Daewoo. And it wasn't just cheap Matiz. At the opposite end of the offer sat the luxurious limousine Chairman. It was originally developed by SsangYong, but Daewoo bought the carmaker in 1997 and at the turn of the century offered its cars in the Czech Republic under its own name. Daewoo Chairman was thus the top of its offer, while the five-meter limousine was based on the technically Mercedes W124.


Under the hood was a six-cylinder, tuned to the top specification to 162 kW. The rear-wheel-drive and automatic transmission were a matter of course. And for a car in this top specification with very rich equipment, Daewoo charged 2,087,520 crowns - the average monthly salary from 2001 for twelve years. For a similar amount, you could have an Audi A8 with a petrol engine and a Tiptronic or BMW 730d, also with automatic shifting.


In 2001, ten people decided for the Chairman, six times less than for the Audi A8, we mention it primarily as an example of what could have been bought twenty years ago as well.


Jaguar XK8 Convertible

Today, the Jaguar XK8 can be bought as used under relatively advantageous conditions, but twenty years ago it was one of the highlights of the then car offer. All the more so in the Convertible version, ie with a canvas retractable roof. If you wanted a car with an unmistakable design and a four-liter eight-cylinder with an output of 216 kW, you had to prepare at least 3,192,000 crowns. If the average family wanted to save one monthly salary at the time, it would take them 18.5 years.


Porsche 911 Turbo

How much did a Porsche 911 Turbo cost twenty years ago? 4.969 million crowns with a supercharged six-cylinder with an output of 309 kW. Like today, even then it was not fun for everyone, because one average gross salary would have to be postponed for almost 29 years in order to be able to afford such a car. Of course, this is again just a theoretical recalculation.


Today, you will pay at least 5.278 million crowns for the 911 Turbo, and only an average monthly salary for a little over 12 years is enough. But the feeling of exclusivity is still the same.

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