The Yugo

  • by Jason Vuic
  • Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt
  • 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 it is 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 the bottom.


What the Critics Say

“This is a fun read about a heap of junk that should make anyone feel better about having to take their car to a repair shop.” (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Who killed the Yugo

There are many reason why the Yugo failed, too many to mention, but I think the #1 reason why the Yugo fail is because the ownership of the company. Like the big threes in Detroit, Yugo was run by greed and bad craftsmanship. Unlike the big three, they didn't get a multi billion bail out. The author only focused on foreign cars and how bad they were, but there were many junkers, clunkers and pos from domestic car makers. The whole auto industry wasn't making good cars when the Yugo came out. There were a lot of lemons from other auto makers beside Yugo. If you want to know how Detroit' failures, read Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster.

The Yugo jokes was a laugher.
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- Tim "Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?"

Flim Flam at its Best

This is a wonderfully entertaining and humorous story about the introduction of the little Yugo - the worse car ever - to the US. Individuals interested in business history will find this book interesting. Car buffs may also enjoy the book, though those expecting technical specs, road tests, and other information will be disappointed. I actually found the sections dealing with Subaru, early Honda introductions, and - in particular - the involvement of Malcolm Bricklin et al very informative.

In sum, this book is well written and the reading of Synnestvedt is very good. Unless you are a motorhead, this might well be an interesting diversion for you. Thank you Jason Vuic for a great job.
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- Roy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-04-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio