|Yugo in the wild. Pennsylvania 2020. Photo credit Isaac Rodriguez|
|Yugo in the wild 2020 Pennsylvania. Photo credit Isaac Rodriguez.|
Just what is a Yugo and why don't we remember them? The Yugo GV, was manufactured in Serbian city of Kragujevac. It was introduced to North America by Malcolm Bricklin. The year was 1985 and Bricklin was having a rough go with the Pininfarina Spiders and Bertone X1/9s he was importing and needed a product to bolster his business.
This subcompact two door hatchback hit the market with an MSRP of just under $4000.00. To put this price in perspective, an '85 Honda Civic could be had for around $5600.00, a Mazda GLC for just under $5400.00 and a Ford Escort for about $6200.00 (all base level models in the range). The Ford Festiva, our favorite, came on the market in 1988 with a price of about $5700.00 when the Yugo had only increased to just over $4500.00.
This low price attracted quite a lot of interest with some dealerships experiencing lineups at their doors when it first became available. Sales ramped up over the first couple of years peaking at 48,812 units sold in 1987. From there, sale plummeted to only 1412 units in 1992, the last year it was available in North America. A total number of 141,651 were sold over its seven year life span.
|From the Car and Driver article linked below...|
|Yugo Cabrio. Thanks to @classiccars_and_whiskey for the photo.|
It didn't take long for the Yugo's true colors to come to the fore and automotive journalists weren't overly kind. Car and Driver magazine's then technical director, Csaba Csere, writing, “It’s obvious to me that the Yugo GV is inferior to every other car sold in America.” There were issues with reliability, it performed poorly in crash tests, and it's fuel consumption was high, and it was slow. It also became the butt of a lot of jokes. One I remember is a standup comedian asking his audience if the speed limit had been reduced from the current 55mph as he had just seen a radar detector in a Yugo!
If you'd like to find out more about the Yugo here are a couple of articles and videos:
- A Quick History of the Worst Car in History (Car and Driver)
- Why Was the Yugo So Bad
- September 1997 article in the Baltimore Sun
- An "adequate" car
- Doug DeMuro review
Do you have any Yugo stories? We'd love to hear them... post them up in the comments section below. Thanks to Isaac Rodriguez for sharing the first couple of photos and to @classiccars_and_whiskey for the Cabrio photo.