The Zastava auto plant in Kragujevac, Serbia stopped production of the Yugo car last Thursday.
Its kind of hard to be sad about this, considering that I had just assumed they stopped making Yugos a long time ago - kind of like when Ronald Reagan died; I was sad, but I was mostly surprised that he had actually still been alive until then! Like 6 months before his death I even asked someone - Hey, Ronald Reagan already passed away, right? And they said - Yea, I think so...
Turns out that they've been making Yugos (although less and less) all the way up until last Thursday, which means that the Yugo not only outlived the Trabant, it also outlived the country it was named after!
Production of the Yugo began in 1981, and for much of its lifetime, the Yugo was the cheapest car in the world - the 2007 models cost about €3500 new.
One of my aunts in California used to drive a Yugo. I remember riding around in it. It was kind of like being in a small Suzuki, just more uncomfortable.
The Zastava factory has signed an agreement with Fiat - Fiat will fix up the factory which was damaged by NATO bombing, and will be producing 2 new Fiat models, possibly up to 200,000 a year by 2010.
You can be sure though that the Yugo will not be quickly forgotten - there are still quite a few on the streets in Hungary and its estimated that 1 in 3 people in Serbia have owned a Yugo at some time in their life!
Even the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia has a Yugo, and did an interview with the BBC while driving it in downtown Belgrade. Here's the video.
The biggest problem with the Yugo being gone, is that all the jokes about them will not pass on to future generations. In that sense, this is a great loss for humanity.
Here are some Yugo jokes to help you say goodbye to the Yugoslav wonder:
- Why does a Yugo have a defroster on the rear window? To keep your hands warm while you push it.
- What do you call a Yugo's shock absorbers? Passengers.
- The new Yugo has an air bag. Before an accident, start pumping real fast.
- How do you double the value of a Yugo? Fill the gas tank.
- What do you call a Yugo at the top of a hill? A miracle.