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 purchase a controlling interest in the automotive operations of Zastava. The plant in Serbia will become the sole source of a new mini-car to be badged as a Fiat. Starting in 2010, the Zastava factory will build a car that is a spiritual successor to the old Fiat Topolino that debuted in 1936. The new Topolino will be based on the platform of the 500 and Panda but it will be even shorter. Unlike the original Topolino, the new car will be at least nominally a four seater.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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