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Short Synopsis
An exhaustive chronicle of the rise and fall of the Yugo, as well as the people and political situations that played a part in the story.

Full 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.


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.

"Synnestvedt sounds fascinated and amused as he retells Yugo jokes (at the start of each chapter), talks about its bumpy start, recalls the initial Yugomania, and details the car's eventual demise." ---AudioFile

"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

"[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." ---The Wall Street Journal

The Yugo

The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

Author Jason Vuic

Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt

Publication date Mar 8, 2010

Running time 9 hrs

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