The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar 1, 2011 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
6 Reviews

Six months after its American introduction in 1985, the Yugo was a punch line; within a year, it was a staple of late-night comedy. By 2000, NPR's Car Talk declared it "the worst car of the millennium." And for most Americans that's where the story begins and ends. Hardly. The short, unhappy life of the car, the men who built it, the men who imported it, and the decade that embraced and discarded it is rollicking and astounding, and one of the greatest untold business-cum-morality tales of the 1980s. Mix one rabid entrepreneur, several thousand "good" communists, a willing U.S. State Department, the shortsighted Detroit auto industry, and improvident bankers, shake vigorously, and you've got The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.

Brilliantly re-creating the amazing confluence of events that produced the Yugo, Yugoslav expert Jason Vuic uproariously tells the story of the car that became an international joke: The American CEO who happens upon a Yugo right when his company needs to find a new import or go under. A State Department eager to aid Yugoslavia's nonaligned communist government. Zastava Automobiles, which overhauls its factory to produce an American-ready Yugo in six months. And a hole left by Detroit in the cheap subcompact market that creates a race to the bottom that leaves the Yugo . . . at the bottom.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - grothenberger - LibraryThing

I've always been fascinated by "loser" cars: my first car was a Studebaker, and I've also owned a Renault 10, a Chevrolet Metro, and a Daewoo Leganza. Rooting for the underdog or just really suck at ... Read full review

THE YUGO: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Vuic (Modern European History/Bridgewater Coll.) debuts with the story of a cheap imported car whose name still provokes outbursts of laughter.The Yugo (1985-'92), a small $3,990 import that was ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
1 Yugo Girls
9
2 The Habitual Entrepreneur
21
3 A Canadian Sports Car?
31
4 Walkin Down a London Street
39
5 The Serbian Detroit
51
6 Bricklins Next Big Thing
61
7 The FourMeter Fax
73
12 The CarBuying Bible
137
13 The Proton Saga Saga
151
14 Thirtyfive Hundredths of a Percent
163
15 Mabon In Bricklin Out
175
16 The Yugo Is a NoGo
187
17 ZMW Get It?
199
Epilogue
211
Notes
215

8 Destination America
87
9 Yugomania
101
10 Its Going to Be a Bloodbath
111
11 The Ambassador Drives a Yugo
123
Acknowledgments
249
Index
251
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Jason Vuic is an assistant professor of modern European history at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia. He lives in Staunton, Virginia, with his wife, Kara.

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