The Yugo by Jason Vuic
The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Jason Vuic

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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.
 
Published March 1, 2011 by Hill and Wang. 257 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Yugo

Kirkus Reviews

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In 2000, Car Talk listeners voted it “the Worst Car of the Millennium.” Vuic shares the best jokes (“Q: What do you call the passengers in a Yugo?

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The Wall Street Journal

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It was small, cheap and badly made, but as a source of derision and amusement it remains a front-runner.

Mar 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

New York Journal of Books

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Yugo, in fact, was sued by the “Yugos” litigation group of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America because the car was unsafe.The Yugo met its demise in 1988, when dealers in the U.S. had a 133-day backlog of unsold cars.

Mar 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

Star Tribune

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Jason Vuic digs into the flash and disappointment that was the Yugo, and shows how the car that became a joke actually ended up influencing major carmakers.

Mar 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

The Washington Post

The Yugo went on sale in the United States on August 26, 1985.

Mar 07 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

PopMatters

To have a larger car was to feel safer on America’s aggressive roads – if a Yugo collided with an SUV then the Yugo driver came off worse, so it was considered preferable to have a large, sturdy car.

May 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

Bookmarks Magazine

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...

Mar 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall o...

Reader Rating for The Yugo
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