Friday, December 26, 2008

Zastava Koral

Zastava Koral

The Zastava Koral (known simply as the Yugo) is a subcompact vehicle built by Zastava corporation. The first Yugo 45 was handmade on 2 October, 1978.

The car design is based on the mechanics of the Fiat 128, under license from Fiat, with a modified body style. The Yugo entered the United States by means of Malcolm Bricklin, who wanted to introduce a simple, low cost car to that market. In total 141,511 cars were sold in the US from 1985 to 1991, with the most American units sold in a year peaking at 48,500 in 1987. 1991 sales were only 3,981 cars. The Zastava Koral was sold with an updated design, priced at about 350,000 dinar (3,500 euro, 4,300 USD), until 11 November 2008, when production stopped with a final number of 794,428 cars.

Zastava Koral 1983 UK
Manufacturer Zastava Automobili
Assembly Serbia
Class Subcompact
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
2-door convertible
Platform Fiat 128 with different parts from Fiat(mainly Fiat 128)
Engine(s) 45 - 45 hp (34 kW) 0.9l (903 cc), 55 - 55 hp (41 kW) 1.1l (1116 cc), 60 - 60 hp (45 kW) 1.1l (1116 cc), 65 - 65 hp (48 kW) 1.3l (1301 cc),
Transmission(s) 45 4-speed ;
55, 60, 65 5-speed
Wheelbase 2150 mm (84.6 in)
Length 3485 mm (137.2 in)
Width 1548 mm (60.9 in)
Height 1390 mm (54.7 in)
Curb weight 825 kg (1819 lb) to 920 kg (2028 lb)
Related Fiat 128
Fiat 127

Model names covered

"Go New, Go Yugo" UK Promotional Leaflet

In the lifetime of the model range the car has gone under a variety of different names:

  • Yugo 45 / Zastava Jugo 45 (Yugoslavia / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo 55 (Yugoslavia / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo 60efi (German version / United Kingdom / Europe,Latin America)
  • Yugo 65 / 65efi (German version / United Kingdom / Europe,Latin America)
  • Yugo GV (United States)
    • Yugo GV Plus (United States)
    • Yugo GVC (United States)
    • Yugo GVL (United States)
    • Yugo GVS (United States)
    • Yugo GVX (United States)
  • Yugo Cabrio (United States, Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece)
  • Zastava Koral (Serbia / Europe)
    • Zastava Koral (Serbia / Europe)
    • Zastava Koral IN (Serbia / Europe)
    • Zastava Koral IN L (Serbia / Europe)
  • Yugo Cabrio (Yugoslavia / Europe)
  • Yugo Ciao (Yugoslavia / Europe)
  • Yugo Tempo (Yugoslavia / Europe)
    • Yugo Tempo - circa 1991
  • Innocenti Koral (Italy)
    • Innocenti Koral Cabrio (Italy)


Zastava was founded as an arms manufacturer in 1853. By the late 1930s the company had expanded into automobile production supplying Ford designed trucks to the Yugoslav Army. Vehicle production continued until 1941 when World War II reached Yugoslavia. Following the war Zastava was permitted to produce Jeeps under license from Willys-Overland until production was halted in the early 1950s.

The first passenger models were produced on August 26, 1953 using designs licensed by Fiat of Turin. The first model designed by Zastava was a sedan called the Milletrecento ("one thousand three hundred") powered by a 1300 cc engine. Some of the most successful models were those based on the Fiat 128 model, marketed under different names: Zastava 128, Zastava 311, Zastava Skala, etc.

1992 Yugo Cabrio 1.3 EFI

Zastava continued to produce vehicles for the Yugoslav and European markets until exports were limited by sanctions imposed by the United Nations in the 1990s. In 1984, automobile entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin tested the U.S. market for Zastava vehicles, now branded as Yugo. As a result, in the summer of 1986, Yugo America began selling cars at a starting price of $3,990 for the entry-level GV ("Great Value") hatchback equipped with the 1100 cubic centimeter overhead-cam five-main-bearing engine and four-speed manual transmission. The similar GVL offered a plusher interior, but the sporty top-line GVX was powered by the beefier 1300 cc engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission, and included as standard equipment a number of deluxe features such as a ground-effects package, alloy wheels and rally lights.

By the late 1980s, US distributor Yugo America was in financial trouble, and American distribution was taken over by Zastava itself. The Yugo Cabrio convertible was introduced with many GVX features as standard equipment.

In the early 1990s the 1100cc engine was dropped as the 1300cc engine became the standard, and an automatic transmission was offered.

However, when the political instability in Yugoslavia intensified in early 1992, Zastava was forced to stop exports to the United States.

Today there are various models available in the former Yugoslavia, including an agreement signed with Fiat for the production of the 2003 Fiat Punto model.

[edit] U.S. history

Poster/Bilbord for Yugo on US market

In 1982 US Enterpreneur Miro Kefurt contacted Zastava in Kragujevac (ZCZ) with an idea to export the Yugo 45 to the United States. The 850 ccm 4-cylinder engine was just under 50 cubic inches displacement, and was exempt from California Emission Inspections (all engines under 50 CID were exempt). The vehicles were renamed Yugo GV for the US market and YugoCars, Inc. was formed in Sun Valley, California by Kefurt and Ray Burns.

The proposal had to be approved by FIAT in Italy due to existing restrictions that were in effect in FIAT - ZASTAVA collaboration agreements.

The first three Yugo vehicles (Red, White & Blue) were introduced to the American public at the Los Angeles AUTO EXPO in May 1984 held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Incredible publicity resulted as the car was promoted with a 10 year /100,000 mile warranty, free maintenance and a price of only $4,500 - front page articles about the Yugo appeared in the Los Angeles Times (Business Section), New York Times, and The National Enquirer. The sexy teenage "Yugo-Girls" clad in white T-shirts with a big "Yugo" at the breast line and ultra short bright red miniskirts and 4" high-heel shoes that matched the car colors were reportedly[by whom?] the reason for the attention that was received by the Yugo at the AUTO EXPO auto show.

Reportedly Malcolm Bricklin attended the Los Angeles Auto Expo Show and while the show was still in progress flew to Yugoslavia to "seal the deal" to import the Yugo to the United States himself.

YugoCars, Inc. however already held the exclusive import contract for 5,000 vehicles for the 1985 model year to be sold in California only and the California Certification was already in progress.

In November 1984 the marketing rights were sold by YugoCars, Inc to IAI for $50,000 ($10 per car). Additionally Miro Kefurt obtained exclusive dealer franchse from IAI to sell BERTONE X1/9 in North Hollywood, California. Both companies YugoCars and IAI were quite satisfied with this arrangement.

The YugoCars,Inc YUGO 45 was 850 ccm (45 Hp) with ZEUNA catalytic converter and Lambda feed back and delivered 42 to 45 MPG at 70 mph (top speed) (the emission system was identical to the one used on FIAT/BERTONE X1/9 since 1980 model year), but IAI Tony Ciminera preferred 1,100 ccm engine (55 Hp) with outdated carburetor, air-injection and fuel economy in 30 MPG range, however the car was capable of 110 mph on level road.

International Automobile Importers (IAI) was the company founded by Malcolm Bricklin to import the X1/9 and 2000 Spyder after Fiat halted their manufacture. Bertone and Pininfarina carried on production under their own names and Bricklin's IAI took over their American importation. Bricklin wanted to import additional brands, and international dealmaker Armand Hammer had been asked by the Yugoslavs to identify business areas in which they could generate exports to bolster their economy. Hammer thought the idea of exporting the small cars made in Kragujevac, Serbia, by Zavodi Crvena Zastava would be viable. Zastava had, since the mid-19th century, been a quality armaments producer and sponsored its own museum.

As Zastava celebrated its 100th anniversary, it started producing vehicles made under license from Fiat, just across the Adriatic Sea. For three decades it produced the rear-engined 600 and the 101, a bustle-backed version of Fiat's evergreen 128. On its own initiative in 1980, Zastava introduced its Jugo or Yugo model which, though still using Fiat-type power train and underpinnings, was an update of the Fiat 127. Styled in Turin, the two-door hatchback's lines were reminiscent of the original VW Golf or VW Rabbit. Zastava was already exporting its new offering to other East European markets, installing the bigger 128 overhead-cam engine for a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h).

Setting up Yugo America to import the car, Bricklin assigned Bill Prior to sort out the distribution and Tony "Hurricane" Ciminera to fine-tune the Yugo for US markets. Ciminera carried out a bumper-to-bumper audit that resulted in more than 500 changes to meet the needs of the American market, including the safety and emissions improvements that US laws demanded. The vast Yugo facility was patterned after the Fiat factories of the early 1950s and employed 50,000, divided among 85 basic associated labor organizations and 25 work committees. For American production models, a separate assembly line was built with handpicked elite staff earning extra pay ($1.23 per hour extra), building Yugos destined for the New World. The first shift began at 6:00 in the morning and after an eight-hour day many employees left for their second jobs in other workplaces.

The chief engineer and head of Zastava's Research and Development Institute was Zdravko Menjak, who responded to the many changes needed to qualify the car for sale in the West. Bricklin had his own people at the plant to monitor the effort, constantly stressing the need for high quality. A team of British quality experts sent a cadre to Kragujevac to study the factory and recommend improvements. Toward the later 1980s an ingenious Yugo cabriolet was being tooled up for production, an automatic transmission was being sourced from Renault, and the larger car (the Florida) had been styled by Giorgio Giugiaro and was in the early manufacturing stages. With communism's collapse, however, Yugoslavia began to unravel. After embargoes stifled production, the coup de grâce was NATO's bombing of the Automotive Division instead of Arms production (Zastava is also a producer of military equipment). Only in 2000 could production be restarted and not until 2003 was the Florida launched.

Introduced in the summer of 1986 at a price of less than $4000, the Yugo was by far the lowest-priced new car available in the USA at the time, and it sold very well at first. But by the early 1990s, the effects of United Nations sanctions on Yugoslavia forced Zastava to withdraw the car from the US market.

In the United States, the Yugo soon developed a negative reputation; defenders of the brand countered by arguing that major auto producers were collaborating with influential automotive media in efforts to eliminate competition.

At first, five models of Yugo were sold in the United States: the basic entry-level $3,990 GV (for "Great Value"), GVC with Glass Sunroof, the nearly-identical GVL and GVS with minor trim and upholstery upgrades, and the race-inspired GVX with the 1300 cc engine, five-speed manual transmission and standard equipment including a plush interior, ground-effects package, alloy wheels and rally lights. The Cabrio convertible was introduced in 1988.

By 1990, the GV, GVL and the 1100 cc engine and four-speed manual transmission were replaced by a 1300 cc OHC engine and five-speed manual transmission, and an optional Renault-designed three-speed automatic transmission, and also an optional Air Conditioner on 1990 Yugo GVX model was offered too. The standard model became the GV Plus.

In 1990, Yugo America introduced an EFI version of the YUGO GVX, but it was too late as the prospect of a recall by the United States Environmental Protection Agency of over 126,000 vehicles sold in the USA, due to failure to meet exhaust emissions, effectively caused Yugo America to close its doors for good in 1992. The complex emission system, which was cheaper than EFI, used a carburetor, a two way Catalyst that required an Air Pump and EGR; it was one of the major problems that caused the vehicles to get a reputation for poor drivability and the inability to meet emission standards.

Wide technical familiarity with the Fiat 128's prowess as an autocross racer meant that many a Yugo GV was modified with Abarth racing parts and sent to participate in SCCA-sanctioned events, notably in the organization's "Solo II" category.[citation needed]

Malcolm Bricklin signed a deal with Zastava in 2002 to bring the Yugo back to American shores with a model tentatively called the ZMW. Under Bricklin's direction, 'Zastava Motor Works USA' expected to sell 60,000 cars in 2003However, Bricklin instead turned to marketing the Chery line of Chinese cars.Bricklin's foray into importing and marketing Chery cars from China folded in mid-to-late 2006 when Bricklin could not come up with the investment required to fund US-specification vehicles from Chery. As of early 2008, Bricklin is working with several universities to develop a car powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries.


The Yugo was rigorously marketed in the late 1980s as a car that would fit into everybody's life, providing basic economical and reliable transportation along the lines of the Volkswagen Beetle and the earlier Ford Model T. The car was promoted as a uniquely affordable new vehicle - providing an option for buyers who would otherwise have chosen a used vehicle - and as a reliable second car for wealthier buyers. The Yugo carried the tagline "Everybody Needs A Yugo Sometime." This marketing appealed successfully to its target market of low-budget new car buyers, as well as wealthier people looking for an affordable second or third car. A popular ad included the 39-90 campaign, a play on the $3,990 price of the car.

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