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What is a Yugo Car?

What is a Yugo Car?

Yugo was a subcompact car manufactured by Zastava Automobiles of Yugoslavian origin. It was introduced to the North American market by an American businessman as an affordable alternative to inefficient sedans at that time.

What is a Yugo Car? Yugo cars owe their name to Yugoslavia, the country of their origin. These were introduced in 1985, and 140,000 to 145,000 units of Yugo cars were sold in the US till 1992. Its models for the US market were Yugo 60, Yugo 65, Yugo GV, GVS, GVL, GVX, and Cabrio. It is considered the most unreliable car in America due to faults like premature engine failures, gearbox problems, and poor construction. However, people own it due to its lowest price and easy maintenance.

Due to its lowest price, there was an enormous response to its sales despite reported problems and low quality of construction.

Specifications of Yugo car

AN American businessman introduced several variants of the Yugo car in the US market, including the Yugo 60, Yugo 65, Yugo GV with carburetors, and also their EFI variants. Yugo 60 has a 1.1-liter engine with a twin-barrel carburetor.

The transmission system in these models is a 4-speed manual. Its electronic fuel injector version is also available for the US market.

This 1100Cc engine has a top power rating of 55 hp and a maximum speed of 86 mph. Moreover, it has a good fuel economy of 25-35 miles per gallon (mpg).

Yugo 65 has a 1.3-liter engine with higher power ratings. It is compatible with 5-speed manual transmission. Later on, the Yugo GV lineup, including GV Sport, GVL, GVX, Cabrio, and GVS, have both 1.1-liter and 1.3-liter engines and 4-speed and 5-speed manual transmission options.

Its high-end variants, like GVX, have several features available, including alloy wheels and upgraded upholstery. In the last years of its production in the US, it also got an optional 3-speed automatic transmission and air conditioner. 

Why is it called a Yugo car?

Zastava Automobiles was the manufacturer of the Yugo cars, the leading auto manufacturer in Yugoslavia. An American businessman Malcolm Bricklin planned to import these cars to the US market from that country.

Therefore, they got the name Yugo from the first name of Yugoslavia, which is their country of origin. Its real name was Zastava, based on its manufacturer. However, it got famous with its other name, which is Yugo.

There is another theory regarding the name of these cars. Some people believe they were named after the Southeastern wind called Jugo because its initial models had names with these spellings.

Later, the word Jugo changed to Yugo when it reached the international market in countries like the United States.

What is the price of a Yugo Car?

Yugo was the cheapest car of its time, which is the main reason for its success in countries like the US.

The Yugo GV base variant was introduced in 1986 with a price tag of $3990 in the US market. Due to its affordable price, there was a massive demand among the public for the car.

However, you can buy a used vehicle for a cost of $2000-$12000, depending on the features, condition of the vehicle, and its model year. 

Do Yugo cars still exist in the USA?

1992 was the last year for Yugo cars imports to the US market. Therefore, you will not find any new cars.

However, some people have registered and owned Yugo cars. You will also find upgraded versions of the Yugo cars by changing parts to resolve design issues.

Therefore, you will find a few of them still on the roads. Moreover, there are few available in junkyards to get spares for repair purposes. 

Why were Yugo cars banned for import in the US market?

These vehicles found a way into the United States market for 8 years. Yugo America sold its first model in 1985, and 1992 was the last year of its production.

After that, the United Nations posed sanctions on Yugoslavia due to ongoing wars in the country. Therefore, Zastava automobiles closed its export business in all countries, including the USA.

Moreover, NATO forces mistakenly bombed the Zastava automobile factories instead of its weapons manufacturing plants.

It resulted in the halt of production lines for several years and the unavailability of the Yugo cars in the American market. Later, efforts were in progress to bring back the Zastava to the US but no fruitful results.

Are parts of Yugo cars still available?

Yes, you can still find the Yugo cars available at scrap yards and junkyards collected from older cars. Moreover, several online stores have parts available.

You can also get them from other countries like Serbia, where still these vehicles are in service through their online stores.

You can also find some distributors in the USA that have Yugo parts available from the factory.

More than 250 parts for the Yugo GV series lineup are available in online stores in the USA in the categories of body parts, accessories, engine and ignition, electrical and wiring, brakes, steering, and suspension system, to name a few of them. Their availability is for Yugo GV, GVS, GVL, GVX, and Cabrio models.

How many Yugo cars were sold in the US?

Yugo America sold almost 140,000-145,000 cars from mid-1985 to 1992. The Yugo GV series, including 5 models introduced in 1987, was the best-selling because of the number of optional features and other specifications.

Therefore, 1987 was the best year regarding sales figures for the vehicles sold, reaching a number of almost 50,000, which is 1/3rd of all US sales.

Although the car has many design flaws and poor reviews, the main driving factor for its sales was affordability and its marketing campaign. 

Are Yugo cars reliable?

Yugo cars have negative reviews from owners due to design flaws and poor quality of construction. Common faults include gearbox problems, engine failures within a few years, and loose doors.

Therefore, it is considered the worst car in US history. Moreover, it has poor results in crash tests to assess its safety during accidents.

Consequently, it has a bad reputation as a highly unreliable car having a useful life of only a few years. However, some still prefer owning it because of its easier maintenance and low repair costs.

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