The development of the Autotrans Croatian transport system began in 1947, when, by the decision of the Ministry of Transport, a company called "Autobusno poduzeće za Istru i Hrvatsko primorje " ("Coach Company for Istria and Croatian Littoral") was established in Rijeka. From a company that had fifteen used vehicles at the moment of establishment, of which ten buses of different brands and types, fifteen drivers, eleven conductors and twenty-five office workers, to the present Autotrans, sixty-five years passed, and in that period it grew into a system that owns 400 buses and employs 1000 workers.
A few years and periods were the milestones in the development of the system, and certainly one of them is 1953, when the company was registered for international transport and was also renamed into Autotrans – the name that has been kept to this day. At that time, new business in passenger and freight traffic was organized and the company chose to focus on standardization of the fleet with vehicles from abroad.
In the 1950s, a new road Zagreb – Rijeka, the Adriatic Road, opened, and the new roadway to Dalmatia and Autotrans opened new routes. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, with a fleet of 41 coaches and two coach trailers, 36 trucks and 18 truck trailers and 305 employees, it ranked among the leading road transport companies in the former country. With the slogan "Fast, Comfortable, Safe," the company continued to develop and introduce new seasonal departures on international and inland coach lines.
The period between 1960 and 1970 was marked by intensive growth of the company, the integration with several Istrian companies was carried out, ending the long process of organizing public road traffic in the area of Istria, Gorski Kotar and the Croatian Littoral, in which Autotrans had a crucial role.
New stations were opened, the most modern coaches were supplied and used to transport passengers on the routes to Vienna, Budapest, Dubrovnik, the Autotrans travel agency was founded, construction investments were performed, young professional staff was employed, and on Autotrans’ twentieth anniversary it owned 147 buses, which transported 7.439 million passengers, passed 10.412 million kilometres, while 203 trucks transported 359 563 tons of cargo. That same year, 1047 workers were employed.
The year 1978 is considered to be significant in the third period because it is when the merger in the SOUR Kvarnertrans took place. By merging in the SOUR, Autotrans experienced status, as well as organizational and technical changes. Through the accepted concept of division of labour within the SOUR, that is, by surrendering freight vehicles and repair shops to Autopromet, as well as freight vehicles in Pazin and Buzet to Gradšped in 1982, and by the formation of RO Autoremont, a new stage in the development concept of Autotrans started. The company had 746 employees left. They were located in eleven business units in the wider Rijeka area and they began to engage exclusively in transportation of passengers, along with the development of tourism activities.
The early 1990s were crucial for the survival and further development of the company. These were the years of the Croatian Homeland War, Croatia gaining independence, and simultaneously preparations for the transition to market economy and privatization of Autotrans began. It was completed on 16 June 1992, when Autotrans became a stock company.
This is a time of expansion in inland and foreign markets; Slavnik - Koper is bought, as well as a share in the Croatia - Zadar Line company, Autoprometno poduzeće Požega is taken over so Autotrans becomes present in Slavonia, and the Pan Alpen Adria company is established in Germany, which takes care of positioning the system in the EU.
The start of a new millennium is marked by two important decisions: the acquisition of Croatiatrans Gospić and the establishment of a new company on the island of Brač. Autoprijevoz Otočac enters the system; activities in Dalmatia continue with taking over Korčula Vojvodić Promet, and then Korčula Bus. With these acquisitions, the group has become the backbone of development and maintenance of passenger traffic throughout Croatia.