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1 Burnside Business- Business Profiles

The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

by

The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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, NPRs Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans thats 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 youve 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 Yugoslavias 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.
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.
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, NPRs Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans thats 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 youve 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 Yugoslavias 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.
“[A] rollicking chronicle of the rise and fall of the homely little hatchback that couldnt . . . [Jason Vuic] weaves a tale about crazy socialist factories, just-as-crazy Western financial practices, geopolitics in the days of the Cold War and an American public yearning for affordable cars—all combined with the ‘cutting edge Serbo-Croatian technology, as the Yugo was referred to in the spoof movie version of ‘Dragnet . . . Mr. Vuic is as hard on the Western capitalism that fleetingly embraced the car as he is on the socialist system that produced it.”—Dick Teresi, Wall Street Journal

"So you Toyota owners think you're having a bad year. You have my sympathy, but you'll have to wait in line after the people who bought the Yugo, the 1980s Yugoslavian import whose story is told in Jason Vuic's The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History . . . Along with the car, the book has an engaging antihero in Malcolm Bricklin, a compulsive floater of franchise schemes and the main importer of the car to America . . . The Yugo is a useful addition to the ever-growing literature of greed."—Charlie Haas, San Francisco Chronicle

 
"The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History chronicles the introduction of a Communist-made subcompact into the middle of Ronald Reagan's America and how a little car had a big impact on the American psyche. We picked up a copy, assuming it would be a light read for a long train ride. Instead we found a fascinating and rigorously researched history that was more fun than a nights worth of Yugo jokes."—Keith Bary, Wired
 
"Given that socialist car jokes have survived better than the cars themselves, it can be hard to recall the West's brief, fiery affairs—more of necessity, perhaps, than love—with those cars in countries like Britain and the United States. For a brief time in the 1980s, for example, British dealers of the Soviet Union's Lada ranked among the industry's best-performing. And as historian Jason Vuic chronicles in his captivating, unexpected new book, The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History, for a fleeting moment amid the clichéd go-go excesses of the 1980s, the $3,995 Yugo—loosely based on a Fiat and produced by a one-time arms manufacturer called Zastava—captured the wallets, if not exactly the hearts, of Americans and introduced some oddball charm and entrepreneurial zest into the staid confines of the U.S. auto market . . . Vuic's history is a fascinating read, and an instructive one for the present moment."—Tom Vanderbilt, Slate

"Creating the Yugo required dozens of corporations, thousands of Yugoslavians, international diplomacy, a cold war, marketing genius, consumer idiocy, and major screwups from not just one political ideology but all of them. Any knucklehead with a lawn mower engine and a monkey wrench can build a bad car. It took communism, socialism, and capitalism to build a Yugo. And Jason Vuic has the story."—P. J. O'Rourke

"Was the Yugo the worst car in history? No, although it wasn't far behind such automotive insults as the Trabant. Is this the most enjoyable car book of the year? Yes! Few car books can match Jason Vuic's supporting cast of earnest automotive executives, politicians, and out-and-out hucksters. Chapter after chapter is filled with such outrageous actions in the name of selling cars that you have to keep repeating this mantra: 'It's not libel if it's true.'"—James B. Treece, Industry Editor, Automotive News

"A cross-cultural tale of the little car that couldn't. Thoroughly researched, tellingly told—and hilarious!"—Phil Patton, author of Bug: The Strange Mutations of the World's Most Famous Automobile

"Testimony to the dishonesty, gullibilitysuccess, greed, cynicism, stupidity, and incompetence of virtually everyone involved in attempting to palm off a ramshackle Balkan-made leftover on the hapless American car buyer, who turned out not to be so hapless after all. The saga of the Yugo proves that failure may not be as instructive as sucess, but it's lots more entertaining."—Bruce McCall

Review:

"Nearly two decades after the company went bankrupt in America, the Yugo is still part of our cultural vernacular, for all the wrong reasons. Vuic, an assistant professor at Bridgewater College, Va., delves into our fascination with the brief but turbulent life of a Yugoslavian car that has now turned into a punch line. Billed as an economic, reliable mode of transportation, the Yugo was in fact badly made, with substandard workers abroad who had a propensity to drink on the job. Yet due to its advertised price tag of under $4,000, it rode a short wave of popularity when it debuted in the U.S. in 1985, as customers snapped up the automobiles sight unseen. The Yugo was all the rage, until people began driving it: one review described how nearly everything in the new car was defective. The car's flaws were many, but Vuic also shows how much of its demise was due to the company's owner, Malcolm Brinklin, who failed in most of his automotive ventures, not because of lack of entrepreneurial vision but because of financial irresponsibility. In the end, 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 (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Brilliantly re-creating the amazing confluence of events that produced the Yugo, Yugoslav expert Vuic uproariously tells the story of the car that became an international joke and a business fiasco.

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, NPRs Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans thats 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 youve 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 Yugoslavias 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 the Author

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780809098910
Subtitle:
The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History
Author:
Vuic, Jason
Publisher:
Hill and Wang
Subject:
Automobiles, Foreign -- United States.
Subject:
Zastava automobile - History
Subject:
Automotive - General
Subject:
Industries - Automobile Industry
Subject:
Automotive - History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20110301
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 Pages of Black-and-White Illustration
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 in

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Related Subjects

Business » Business Profiles
Business » History and Biographies
Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
Transportation » General

The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Hill & Wang - English 9780809098910 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nearly two decades after the company went bankrupt in America, the Yugo is still part of our cultural vernacular, for all the wrong reasons. Vuic, an assistant professor at Bridgewater College, Va., delves into our fascination with the brief but turbulent life of a Yugoslavian car that has now turned into a punch line. Billed as an economic, reliable mode of transportation, the Yugo was in fact badly made, with substandard workers abroad who had a propensity to drink on the job. Yet due to its advertised price tag of under $4,000, it rode a short wave of popularity when it debuted in the U.S. in 1985, as customers snapped up the automobiles sight unseen. The Yugo was all the rage, until people began driving it: one review described how nearly everything in the new car was defective. The car's flaws were many, but Vuic also shows how much of its demise was due to the company's owner, Malcolm Brinklin, who failed in most of his automotive ventures, not because of lack of entrepreneurial vision but because of financial irresponsibility. In the end, 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 (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Brilliantly re-creating the amazing confluence of events that produced the Yugo, Yugoslav expert Vuic uproariously tells the story of the car that became an international joke and a business fiasco.
"Synopsis" by ,
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, NPRs Car Talk declared it “the worst car of the millennium.” And for most Americans thats 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 youve 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 Yugoslavias 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.
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