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Yugo, 1953-2008
November 20, 2008 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Yugo (now Zastava), the icon of Soviet-era automaking, rolled out its last car on November 11th, 2008, a victim of the global financial crisis. The Kragujevac plant, having endured political crises and NATO bombs, has finally been sold to Fiat. Previously.
posted by swift (28 comments total)

 
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My best friend in high school had a Yugo. It was stolen twice. He, his dad, and I took the engine out with our bare hands, no cherry picker. I miss that car. /finds VHS copy of Drowning Mona.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:34 AM on November 20, 2008


I just put Drowning Mona on my netflix list when I heard this....

and, to say that the demise of the Yugo was due to the "global financial crisis"...hmmmm... it's demise here in the US is because it was, well, a pretty crappy car.....
posted by HuronBob at 10:37 AM on November 20, 2008


The Obligatory Yugo Joke:

Q: Why do Yugo's have rear window defrosters?
A: To keep your hands warm while you're pushing it.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:39 AM on November 20, 2008


The Obligatory Yugo Joke:

A few more.
posted by gman at 10:43 AM on November 20, 2008


Fix It Again, Trotsky!
posted by Chuffy at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


But Malor's been warning us about the Fiat Economy for years!
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 AM on November 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


But, but, Fiat? I heard on a morning-zoo show that GM was going to buy that plant and bring back the Geo. What are they going to bring back now?
posted by box at 10:53 AM on November 20, 2008


Wow. I didn't know that Yugo even existed. I remember these, um, cars, when they were introduced. One local dealer was even offering a 2 for 1, his and hers, deal. My strongest memory, however, was looking over a couple Yugos stationed for marketing purposes at the local mall. I still remember him sadly shaking his head at the open hood of one of the display models.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:58 AM on November 20, 2008


Since I tossed it up on my blog, I might as well add it here I Drive a Yugo by the Left Wing Fascists.
posted by klangklangston at 11:08 AM on November 20, 2008


Weren't Yugos basically Fiats, anyway? I still see old Fiats driving around all the time, so I would fault the build quality over the design.

I would so jump at the chance to own an old Fiat. Good luck getting it back to the States, though.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:19 AM on November 20, 2008


Fix It Again, Trotsky Tito!

seriously
posted by FuManchu at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


our own government sponsored GM can take over from Yugo
posted by bhnyc at 11:40 AM on November 20, 2008


There are a lot of old Yugo commercials on YouTube. This old Zastava 101 commercial is a personal favorite. It's like Jaws, except featuring a boxy, yellow, slow-moving Jaws. (Same lifeless eyes, though.)

Also worth seeing: Three Yugos stacked on top of one another driving around my town, celebrating an old Yugoslav holiday. (I forget which one -- but the colors of the Yugos match the old flag.)
posted by Ljubljana at 11:45 AM on November 20, 2008


What? No bail-out?
posted by DreamerFi at 11:45 AM on November 20, 2008


Fiat not-so-luxe.
posted by zippy at 12:09 PM on November 20, 2008


The Yugo: Slightly more succesful than Yugoslavia.
posted by tommasz at 12:25 PM on November 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Infamous (well if you grew up in the Midlands in the 70s/80s) were the television adverts for Swithland Motors (the local Yugo dealer) starring Samantha Fox and a bearded idiot called Wally, both of whom had the most wooden delivery imaginable. "That's a nice new car!" Sam: "Yes, Wally! It's a Yugo! Got it from Swithland Motors!" Follow The Fox To Swithland! - the final slogan was. In a later version Wally faints because the cars are so cheap.

Towards the end Ms Fox obviously became too expensive so they brought in Maria Whittaker fulfilling a similar role in a skin-tight 'Swithland Motors' t-shirt. Goggle-eyed Wally 'How can you afford such a great car" - Cue close of up Marina pointing to her t-shirt 'I keep that very close to my chest!'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:00 PM on November 20, 2008


I recall that when they pulled the plug on the US marketing effort back in the early 90's, the local Yugo dealer was offering "buy one, get one free." Yikes.
posted by Kinbote at 3:17 PM on November 20, 2008


Not a good rally starter either.
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:23 PM on November 20, 2008


Not a good rally starter either.

Roll cage? Pah, a bourgeois western imperialist trifle!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:54 PM on November 20, 2008


Wouldn't the icon of Soviet-era automaking be the Trabant?
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:59 PM on November 20, 2008


Thanks for posting this.

Someone (at a mefi meetup, incidentally) told me that the Yugo was the perfect car. You could save the few grand in a year or two, buy it without a loan, drive it for it two or three years, throw it out and buy another. No need for a thirty thousand dollar loan. And when it depreciates by half the minute you drive it off the lot, it is not that big of a financial hit. And you aren't really disappointed when the Yugo breaks down on you because you expect it.

Disposable autos are not an environmentally sustainable practice, though.
posted by philfromhavelock at 4:35 PM on November 20, 2008


philfromhavelock: Someone (at a mefi meetup, incidentally) told me that the Yugo was the perfect car. You could save the few grand in a year or two, buy it without a loan, drive it for it two or three years, throw it out and buy another. No need for a thirty thousand dollar loan. And when it depreciates by half the minute you drive it off the lot, it is not that big of a financial hit. And you aren't really disappointed when the Yugo breaks down on you because you expect it.

I think that was actually Yugo's business plan. The used market is what killed it - a couple of grand for a few years of car doesn't sound that horrible on the surface of it, but you could get a used Toyota or something for that much and have a car that would drive until the protons in it decayed.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:14 PM on November 20, 2008


My Yugo memory, from the original U.S. introduction, was watching a news report where they had a ceremony with one of the first Yugos driving off the ship...and it stalled right on the ramp, halfway to the dock.
posted by gimonca at 6:20 PM on November 20, 2008


In my neck of the woods, the Yugo will always be linked to this bit of Mackinac Bridge lore:

In 1989, a tragic accident captured the front pages of state newspapers. Leslie Pluhar's 1987 Yugo, a small car, plunged from the bridge more than 150 feet to the straits below. It was the first vehicle to fall off the five-mile span since it opened. Gale force winds blowing from the northwest helped lift her car off the roadway and over the side.
posted by Chrischris at 8:29 PM on November 20, 2008


fearfulsymmetry, I remember those Swithland Motors ads! They were legendary for the woodenness of the acting. I don't remember Sam Fox in them - must have been before my time.
posted by salmacis at 3:42 AM on November 21, 2008


Talk of selling cars at half price, it seems that some Dodge dealers are offering Dodge Rams as a BOGO, too.

I think I'd rather drive a Yugo, to tell the truth.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:25 PM on November 21, 2008


>I think that was actually Yugo's business plan.
Wow. Thanks Mitrovar.
posted by philfromhavelock at 12:18 PM on November 22, 2008


« Older Then, all of sudden, I saw a hand holding a piece ...  |  There have been precious few t... Newer »


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