History of Yugo cars

Tvornica History of Yugo cars
The first vehicles in Kragujevac were "Ford" trucks. They were made exclusively for the Yugoslavian Army in the late 30's

Since today's "Zastava" was a gun factory named Vojno-Tehnicki Zavod (Army Technical Institute). A small number of vehicles was made until the outbreak the war in 1941. Then in the early 50's some number of Jeeps was made, but the deal with Willys-Overland (Chrysler) went off, and the production stopped. Zavodi Crvena Zastava (means: "Red Flag Plant") first started building passenger cars in 1954.

The first Zastava cars were varients of the Fiat 1400 and 1900. Next came versions of the Fiat 600. It remained in production well after production ceased in Italy. Throughout the 60's Zastava built more Fiat based cars that evolved from the 1100, 1300, 1500, 124, and 125 Fiat models.

In 1971 Zastava introduced it's own version of the Fiat 128. It had a restyled rear panel, and later became available as a hatch back, a style that had not been issued in Italy. Some Zastava were exported to Italy marked as Innocienti. In 1981, the Fiat 600 was still being made, but so was a three door hatchback.

Styled by Zastava, it was called the Yugo 45, and it was related to the Fiat 127, but different in appearance. Examples were made with the 903cc, 1100cc, and 1300cc engines. The 1100cc and the 1300cc versions were sold in the USA as the Yugo GV, GVL, GVS, GVX, GV Plus, and the Cabrio. In the 80's the factory started to make trucks, which were based on IVECO licence. The names of the passenger cars are changed from Zastava to Yugo.

The Yugo 45 called as Yugo Koral (in the European markets), the Zastava GTL (the Fiat 128 clone) named to Yugo Skala. In 1988 the new Yugo model was shown, called Florida (Sana in some countries). It's exterior designed by Giorgetto Giorgiaro, its shape similar to Fiat Tipo. These cars were exported mainly the eastern European countries, because Yugos are cheap cars, but less were exported to western European countries and the USA.

During the summer of 1985 the Yugo went on sale as the cheapest car sold in the USA. With a base price of $3990, it was thousands cheaper than the next car up. Standard equipment included fabric upholstery, full carpeting, reclining front seats, folding rear seat, rear window wiper/washer, opening rear quarter windows, rear window electric defroster, low fuel warning light, cigarette lighter, locking gas cap, and a full size spare tire. There were few options such as air conditioning, stereos, floor mats, wheel covers, and roof racks.

As soon as it was announced that the Yugo would go on sale, people stormed the 90 Yugo dealerships, and put down deposits on the cars. They did this before even seeing the cars, much less driving them. By the time 1500 cars had arrived dealers had orders for 5 times that amount. First year sales fell well below what was predicted, but rose in the second year.

Auto critics tended to laugh at the Yugo, and branded it more of a toy than a car. They also pointed out a series of flaws, and as it happens many of the flaws were valid. Many owners complained of mechanical problems including premature engine failure, bad brakes, poor shifter and transmission, and faulty electrical systems, and terrible dealer service. The insurance industry faulted the cars crash worthiness, which didn't help matters.

In early 1989 Yugo America went bankrupt, which threatened to remove the Yugo from the USA. No 1989 models were imported, so dealers sold leftover 1988 models. Reorganization brought Yugo America back to life, but it faced a major battle to repair it's poor image.

A revived Yugo GV Plus with fuel injection was introduced in 1990, along with the long awaited Yugo Cabrio. The Cabrio was priced twice as high as the hatchback, and offered an electric folding top, heated glass rear window, automatic folding quarter windows, and an aerodynamic body kit, which included fog lamps. The first shipment of Cabrios were not fuel injected though. Following it's bankruptsy, Yugo America became a subsidary of Zastava, rather than a seperate organization. The 1991 models were the last to be imported, they came with larger fuel tanks, better seats, a better steering wheel angle, and automatic transmissions. Previously, all Yugos came with a manual transmission.

Sales of the Yugo slipped to a minimum before the company closed it's doors for good. Americans don't likes the tiny hatchbacks, like this. It was economical, but weak and not as comfortable and not as equipped compared to the average american cars. In the early 90's when Yugoslavia was in war the export fallen. The production of the factory was unstable.

In 1999 the NATO bombed the Zastava plant, because it produced strategic arms. Zastava is working continuously since the factory was built. It was working in three shifts even during the NATO bombing. The managers remove all from the factory in last moment, before the bombings started.

After the war, there were trade talks to Hungarian firms, to assemble Yugos in Hungary, but this agreement haven't been concluded because of hesitating of the Yugoslavian partner. (But Zastava trucks are assembling in Hungary, near to Pécs, with IVECO engine.)

The new generation of Yugo has FIA certificat, so it's complaint with European standards. It is most likely, that Yugo will return to European and even American market. Zastava is producing YUGOs again, even if they "gained" cruel damage from NATO.

Today Zastava is producing YUGOs again, but there is an exportation problem, because of sanction against Serbia. Yugoslavia can't export products and import to and from USA and countries, which are member of EU. Slovenia is still not a member, but because of present economy situation and relationship with Serbia, Serbia does not allow to export in Slovenia.

Montenegro has it's own policy, so it's most likely, that Zastava will export Yugo's trought Montenegro to Slovenia and on the other hand a lot of parts for Yugo will be made in Slovenia, which will be imported to Serbia, also trough Montenegro.

Tvornica New Yugo
I assume that Yugos will achive European and US market trough Slovenia. Nevertheless Yugo has future, because of it price, in Slovenia selling price will be 9000 DEM, which is around 4000 US $ and Zastava has achieved all European standards.

Tvornica Croatia - MAGNET
New Yugo has 1,3l with BOSCH injection motor, whitch gives it around 80HP(totaly enaugh for it's waight of 800 kilos), the transmission designed by Porsche, slightly new internal and external design, improved safety, and lots of detailes. In the first half of 2000 the production of the factory was 8800 cars. Good luck our Yugo!

Rob Yunker - Tic Pavlin - Velibor Rajkovic - Oskó József