The Yugo

The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History

The Yugo (2009, Hill and Wang)

Published Jan. 1, 2009 by Hill and Wang.

4 star (1 review)

The birth, life and death of the Yugo, a car built in Yugoslavia and imported into America during the mid 1980s.

The Yugo

4 star

There's a thesis holding that, once Napoleon made warfare dangerous and barbaric, capitalism became the new arena in which gentlemen displayed their martial prowess. If that thesis is true, then Malcom Bricklin is capitalism's Bowie or Crockette or whoever it was that got slaughtered at the Alamo. Bricklin was a serial (and often parallel) entrepreneur who specialized in automobiles. After some modest success with Subaru and an almost pre-ordained failure with the Bricklin sports car, he hit upon the car that rocked American culture for a little while in the mid-1980s: the Yugo, a cheap, poorly-made car produced by a workers' collective in independently communist Yugoslavia.

A story of the Yugo from birth through life to death covers a lot of territory - global manufacture and trade, State Department Cold War policy, the U.S. regulatory system, the ol' financial hornswoggle, Balkan history - and this book is on top of …