Several years ago, we were surprised to discover that the Yugo was still being made. Sometimes dubbed the worst car in history, Serbian automaker Zastava continued producing the Yugo through 2008 when the last one rolled off the assembly line in Kragujevac after a twenty-year production run. That was only months after Fiat inked a deal to buy the company and its assets, including the factory.
In 1985, just nine months before the Yugo came to America, Yugo America CEO Malcolm Bricklin and second in command Tony Ciminera toured the Zastava plant in Kragujevac, Yugoslavia. This is where the Yugo 45, the crazy-cheap car Americans would come to know, love and then loathe, would be built and rebadged as the Yugo GV (Bricklin intended GV to stand for "great value," but he never bothered paying the ad firm to spread the word). Ciminera was horrified at what he saw.
Fiat has a long and storied history in Eastern Europe, though not in the way you might expect. For years, outdated Fiat vehicles were built in mildly modified form in Serbian factories wearing such historic nameplates as Lada and Yugo. As such, it only seemed natural that Fiat would enter into an agreement to purchase Zastava when it went up on the market back in 2008... until, that is, the economic conditions of the entire planet took a major dive.
"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 productio
During the last few decades of Communism in Eastern Europe, Fiat had several licensing deals with manufacturers in the region to produce obsolete versions of their cars for sale there. Results of these deals included Russian Ladas and perhaps one of the worst imports of all time, the Yugo, built in the former Yugoslavia by Zastava. Yugoslavia no longer exists but Zastava is still around in Serbia producing Fiat-based cars for the Balkan market. Yesterday, Fiat announced its intention to purchas
When the Yugo first arrived on our shores in 1985, it made headlines with its bargain basement $4,000 USD price tag. Of course, four large didn't buy you much of anything, except for a series of breakdowns and the laughter of virtually every motorist that easily passed you by. While the Yugo hasn't been sold in the U.S. since 1991, for the right price you can now bid for the distinct pleasure of owning Zastava, the Serbian company responsible for producing and exporting the biggest punch line in
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