The Yugo

The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

Hill and Wang, 2010 (ISBN-13-9780809098958)


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. Yet 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 you’ve got The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.

"True genius...a fascinating story well told."

John Phillips, 

Car and Driver

Click on the icons below to read Jason's Yugo reviews

and author interviews with: 

 Fox and Friends (2010) 

Praise for The Yugo


"[A] rollicking chronicle of the rise and fall of the homely little hatchback that couldn’t..."

Dick Teresi, Wall Street Journal


"As historian Jason Vuic chronicles in his captivating, unexpected new book, 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


"True genius...A fascinating story well told."  John Phillips, Car and Driver


"An in-depth, brisk, and hilarious chronicle of the economic, mechanical, political, and cultural calamities that conspired to unleash this motorized monster on the American populace."  Brett Berk, Vanity Fair Daily


"[Vuic] could have easily written a straightforward takedown of the most maligned automobile since the Ford Pinto. Instead, he uses the Yugo as a vehicle for an insightful and witty look at car culture, a half-century of Balkan history, and the last decade of the Cold War."  Sonja Sharp, Mother Jones


„To je najbolja, naduhovitija i najčitanija ''studija slučaja'', ali ne jednog automobila, nego jedne države”.

Gorčin Stojanović