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"Cao, nema više" reads the piece paper affixed to the tailgate of the red Serbian hatchback, as a small throng of proud workers gathered around the car to bid it "Goodbye, no more" this week. After a 20-year run, the last Zastava Koral, #794,428, quietly made its way to the Zastava museum and the scrappy Eastern European automaker has wound down production on all but one of its models. The very last Zastava, a Skala 55, will be the last of its kind when it makes its way down the production line on November 20th. After that, the proud, tenacious people who have been working at the Kragujevac factory aren't sure of what the future holds. Zastava has long been linked to Fiat, and when the lines restart, the Zastava 10 will be badged as a Fiat Punto, which it is.

Make as many Yugo jokes as you'd like, but Zastava has a long and fascinating history, and the company has managed to produce automobiles through several periods of war, even after the factory sustained bombings. The now classic Zastavas will live on; the company is working on setting up Skala 55, Koral In, and Florida In production lines in Africa and the Zastava 128 is still being produced in Egypt. In those climates, we figure they won't need to come with defroster grids to keep your hands warm when pushing.

[Source: Zastava]

Serbian automaker Zastava Automobili
announces end of Yugo production
###

November 14th, 2008 - KRAGUJEVAC, Serbia - At 9am on November 11th, 2008, Yugo
#794,428 – a red Koral In1 – left the lines at Zastava Automobili's factory in Kragujevac.
The first Yugo, a hand-built prototype, emerged on October 2nd, 1978.
Zastava workers affixed a small piece of paper to its tailgate, labeled "ćao, nema više"
("goodbye, no more"). Thus did the famous budget car, once the pride of the former Yugoslavia,
drive into history.

A few tears were shed; the machines ceased whirring, and the group that had gathered around the
car slowly dispersed, somewhat stunned that no formal event had been prepared. While the last
car headed to Zastava's museum, the men and women who built it were given the task of
preparing the space for Fiat's purposes.

55 years ago, the late Prvoslav Raković founded Zastava Automobili from the WWII ruins of
century-old Zastava, a cannon foundry and producer of some of the best rifles in the world.
Automobiles. Trucks. Buses. Architecture and construction. Horticulture. Zastava did it all. Well
before World War II, 400 Chevrolet trucks rolled off Kragujevac lines, slated for the Yugoslav
Army. Postwar production began in 1953, when Zastava built 162 Willys jeeps, before
inextricably tying itself to Fiat. 1955 saw the first fruits of this agreement: the Zastava 600D, a
car for the people, and the Zastava AR-51, the truck which would drive Yugoslavia's postwar
reconstruction.

With production beginning in 1955, Zastava ventured into front-wheel drive in 1971; Europe, in
1972; America, in 1985, and fuel injection, in 1988. As their world imploded in the '90s,
Zastava's workers continued to come to work each morning. When in 1999 NATO used the
factory for target practice, they dutifully cleaned up the damage and, seemingly without need for
dollars or euros, managed again to turn out their budget cars.
In 1945, Toyota could make no more than fish paste. BMW built pots and pans. Volkswagen
produced nothing. Yet bombs could not stop Zastava. Even without the foreign investment
enjoyed by Toyota and Volkswagen, a Zastava Skala 101 rolled off the line just six months after
the factory had been ripped apart.

For an encore, Zastava's engineers forged an alliance with PSA/ Peugeot-Citroen, and developed
Europe's most affordable diesel car, the Florida TDC, a five-door hatchback which was praised
by Britain's Autocar magazine (in its February 20th, 2008 issue) in the last throes of the
company's independence. Zastava also builds the Oktopus Finiss which, being rated for 150 km/h, is the world's fastest professional-driver training device.

On November 11th, 2008, the final Yugo followed the last Florida2, number #29,950.
The last Zastava 10 (Fiat Punto II.5) was built a few days earlier. When production restarts
(expected to be by the end of the year), it will be rebadged, Fiat Punto.

The last Skala 55 (#1,273,532) will be built on November 20th, marking the last Zastava after 4.2
million cars, of which 700,000 were exported (145,511 to the United States).

Zastava Automobili is currently working with authorities in Congo, Africa, to transfer Skala 55/
Koral In/ Florida In production lines there.

Meanwhile, the Zastava 128 is still assembled in Egypt by El Nasco, where it is a favorite among
taxi drivers.

The success of Zastava is important not only for its Kragujevac home (where metalworking, in
2007, still accounts for 70% of industry), but for Serbia as a whole. Roughly 100,000 people
across 56 towns are directly and indirectly employed by Zastava. Their fate remains unclear. For
them and their families; for Kragujevac, and for Serbia and its economic recovery, it is hoped that
Zastava's rollercoaster ride over the last quarter century is again trending upward.
###

For fifty-five years, since 1953, the Zastava marque has been known for affordable, durable
vehicles. Zastava specializes in cars priced under 10,000 euros, cars which promise easy
maintenance and unbeatable value.

For more on Zastava history, please see
http://www.zastavanacionale.com/Default.aspx?lng=en-us&mode=heritage

Zastava Automobili has entered into a joint-venture agreement with Fiat S.p.A. of Italy. The
agreement will see the production of a new A-segement model in Kragujevac by 2010.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jugo, nedostajaćeš nam svima.

      People that make fun of Yugo are people that never owned one. Yugo was so cheap ($4,300 brand new) and parts are so cheap (last summer when I was in Serbia I paid ~$5 for brake pads) that it pays of to have a Yugo and keep fixing them instead of making a huge payment on some other car (and this is Europe where even a base Focus cost over $20,000).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is that Viggo Mortensen in the assembly line!!! LOL
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought he looked like Rade Serbedzija(who's Croatian)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Since when is Rade Serbedzija a Croat?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I owned a 1974 Fiat 128 SL which was the forerunner to the first Yugo. Sure the electrical system was rough, and the car rusted terribly, but it had a lot of spirit, and was cheap to maintain (if you could find parts for it in the US, even in 1982).

      I agree that those who make fun of Yugo have never owned one. I can also say that if such a car was available today in the US, people would be trading in their SUVs to get one.
      • 6 Years Ago

      The thing is it appears that soon we will be hearing about the last Chrysler or Dodge or Pontiac being built.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes.

        And while it will happen because we parted company as sellers and buyers, we will still again feel that quiver of braided disbelief, memory, nostalgia, and mortality.

        "Filed under: Time Warp"
      • 6 Years Ago
      I owned two Yugos. My first was the base model. My second was the GVX, which added a 1.3L engine (up from 1.1L), 5-spd, alloys and assorted other add-ons. Was it luxury? No, but it was not intended to be. The base was somewhat uncivilized on the freeway, but around town was great. The GVX actually was great all-around transportation. It did nothing spectacular but did everything it was supposed to do. I was ridiculed constantly, which I got used to. One night after work, I came outside to find my coworkers had lifted the car up and moved it around the corner. But when people went for a ride, they usually did not have much to say except that it wasn't as bad as they expected. All in all, I don't regret my Yugos. They did exactly what they were intended for, and allowed me, just out of high school in 1989, to purchase extremely affordable and reliable (Yes, I said reliable!) transportation. This was much in the vein of the VW Beetle.
      Elux Troxl
      • 6 Years Ago
      The world weeps.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Elux Troxl
        Strange world you live in ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Yugo was an easy mark for a critical bashing. However, those scathing reviews did generate some great one-liners. Perhaps my favorite was a review of the "Sport" (?!) model in which the writer likened the manual shifter's movement to that of attempting to stir a barrel of coconuts with a baseball bat. Priceless.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uh oh. I believe we may have inadvertantly uncovered some plagarism. I was referring to an article published in Car & Driver sometime around 1990 or so. After 20-ish years, I guess it doesn't matter who said it first. It's just a great quote.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The Yugo was an easy mark for a critical bashing. However, those scathing reviews did generate some great one-liners. Perhaps my favorite was a review of the "Sport" (?!) model in which the writer likened the manual shifter's movement to that of attempting to stir a barrel of coconuts with a baseball bat. Priceless."

        Egon-

        Good call. But you are half right. The car was the mid90s Mitsubishi Eclipse or one of the other two "Diamond Star" triplets, and the reviewer who said that was Tony Whitney of the CBC's Driver's Seat.

        He was the good one. The other one was this seemingly cantankerous fellow called Ted Laturnus. After Laturnus gave a blanket endorsement to the Eclipse's quality and value, Whitney stopped him with a note of near irritation and that tactile metaphor.

        ( Hey... Maybe North Americans don't need their own Top Gear... )
      • 6 Years Ago
      They were still building these?
        • 6 Years Ago
        If there wasn't a demand for them they wouldn't stay in production for that long.
        • 6 Years Ago
        But why?

        was there really a demand for them?

        ROFLMAO
      • 6 Years Ago
      ..farewell Zastava,i truly mean that.You were alot to people in that region of the world.
      Das Auto
      Arthur Dunning III
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder what the Yugo's detractors would say if they knew that there were some enterprising souls in Europe who turned Yugos into tuner cars? I found a few such cars on YouTube and the Internet in general. Makes me think some Yugo owners did more than just the standard maintenance.
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