Yugo No More

November 21, 2008

miscellaneous, the economy

With hats in hands, we bid a sad farewell to the Yugo tomorrow (I’m such a sentimental schmuck, I know). The Yugo, mass produced in the 80s, was a simple car designed to be small and economical, compared to the futuristic, complex, gas guzzling SUVs with their flashy gadgets and flash memory microchip in the engines. The Yugo was also notoriously unreliable.

KRAGUJEVAC, Serbia, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Serbian auto maker Zastava, producer of the iconic Yugo, will make its last vehicle on Friday before closing its doors to revamp operations in a joint venture with Italy’s Fiat. The Yugo car dates back to 1978, and, since mass production started in 1980, nearly 800,000 Yugo vehicles have rolled out of the Zastava plant, 142,000 exported to the United States.

Socialist Yugoslavia created the Zastava car plant in 1953 to service its domestic market of about 20 million people.

Thus ends another chapter in the closing of what could loosely be called an automobile. It was imported into the U.S. by businessman Malcolm Bricklin, who:

…wouldn’t be satisfied until he had forced every American to walk to work. To that end, in 1985, he began importing the Yugo GV, which turned out to be the Mona Lisa of bad cars. Built in Soviet-bloc Yugoslavia, the Yugo had the distinct feeling of something assembled at gunpoint. Interestingly, in a car where “carpet” was listed as a standard feature, the Yugo had a rear-window defroster ā€” reportedly to keep your hands warm while you pushed it. The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system ā€” such as it was ā€” would sizzle, and things would just fall off. Yugo. Or not. (TIME magazine, The 50 Worst Cars of All Time, 2007).

The Yugo became something of an icon, a symbol of everything that was wrong and inefficient about the Soviets, socialism, and later, wacko-liberalism. The Yugo was the brunt of many jokes over the years.

Yu*go (yoo-go) n. (1) A small, economical, Yugoslavian-built automobile. (2) a 4×4 hood ornament.
adj. 1) What doesn’t happen when you press the accelerator.

A man walks into an auto parts store and says,
“I’ll take a gas cap for a Yugo.”
“Sounds like a fair trade,” says the salesman.

How do you double the value of a Yugo?
Fill the tank!

What is found on the last two pages of every Yugo owner’s manual?
The bus schedule.

What do you call a Yugo with a flat tire?
Totalled.

Why do Yugos have a heater for the back window?
To keep your hands warm when pushing.

How do you make a Yugo go faster?
A towtruck.

Yuk yuk yuk! Goodbye, Yugo. If nothing else, you made us laugh.

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6 Responses to “Yugo No More”

  1. guitarzan Says:

    Yugo, girl!!!

  2. Karen Says:

    Goodbye Yugo!

  3. RollerKaty Says:

    It’s the end of an era.

  4. The Hawg! Says:

    Yugo teaming with Fiat? What are they trying to do? Make the most unreliable car the world has ever seen?

    Hey, I love those old Fiat roadsters, but let’s not forget what people said that name was actually an acronym for “Fix It Again, Tony.”

  5. contrariwise Says:

    I didn’t know that they were still being made!

    I still see one every once in a while. But they’re a rare site – unless you visit the landfills.

  6. vulcanhammer Says:

    Ah, the Yugo! A true testament to government hacks trying to make a car. Great post.