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The Zastava Koral (known in the US simply as the Yugo) is a subcompact vehicle built by Zastava corporation.

The car design is based on the mechanics of the Fiat 127 and Fiat 128, under licence from Fiat, and a modified Autobianchi A112 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. The most American units sold in a year peaked at 45,000. <ref></ref> The Zastava Koral was still being sold in the former Yugoslavia with updated design until November 21, 2008. After 30 years and 800,000 units, the Yugo has been completely discontinued by Zastava.

Zastava Koral Info (Serbia)

  • Trim Lines
    • Zastava Koral 1.1
    • Zastava Koral 1.3
    • Zastava Koral In 1.1
    • Zastava Koral In 1.3

Standard Features:

Koral Models: 1.1L or 1.3L engines, fan, cloth upholstery, glovebox, seatbelts, and more.

Koral In Models: Everything the Koral Models have plus a modernized interior and exterior.

Options include:

  • Air Conditioning (Koral In)
  • Radio (Koral In)

In 2006, the Zastava Koral In was crash tested at a German facility. Sources say the Koral In actually passed the tests thanks to airbags and other safety features. This could pave the way to export to the E.U.

Model names covered

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

  • Yugo 45 / Zastava Jugo 45 (Former Yugoslavia / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo 55 (Former Yugoslavia / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo 60efi (spec. Denmark and Greece version / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo 65 / 65efi (spec. Germany version / United Kingdom / Europe)
  • Yugo GV (United States)
    • Yugo GV Plus (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)
    • Yugo Koral (Former Yugoslavia / Europe)
    • Zastava Koral IN (Serbia / Europe)
    • Zastava Koral IN L (Serbia / Europe)
  • Zastava Cabrio (Serbia / Europe)
  • Zastava Ciao (Serbia / Europe)
  • Zastava Tempo (Serbia / Europe)
    • Zastava Yugo Tempo - circa 1991
  • Innocenti Koral (Italy)
    • Innocenti Koral Cabrio (Italy)

The Zastava Koral is a subcompact automobile produced by the former Yugoslav and now Serbian manufacturer Zastava. The main factory is located in the city of Kragujevac in central Serbia.


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 Milletrecciento ("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, et cetera.

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, in Verplanck, New York. 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 more plush 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 were a number of deluxe features such as a ground-effects package, alloy wheels and rallye 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 1100 engine was dropped as the 1300 cc 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.

Zastava was hard hit during the late 1990s due to United Nations sanctions imposed during the Yugoslav civil war, and Yugo production suffered as a result. In 1999, during the Kosovo War, NATO aircraft deliberately bombed the Zastava car and truck factory, where the workers had set up a 24-hour watch, hoping that their physical presence in and around the premises would exempt it from destruction <ref></ref>. Nonetheless, NATO attacks killed and maimed dozens of employees.

The site was repaired by the same factory workers in the years afterwards, and production continues today on the old site, in Kragujevac.

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 <ref></ref>.

U.S. History

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 among non-owners; defenders of the brand countered by arguing that major auto producers were collaborating with influential automotive media in efforts to eliminate competition.

At first, four models of Yugo were sold in the United States: the basic entry-level $3,990 GV (for "Great Value"), 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 automatic transmission was offered. The standard model became the GV Plus.

Wide familiarity with the Fiat 127'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.

Malcolm Bricklin signed a deal with Zastava in 2002 to bring back Yugo 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 2003<ref> "Yugo Redux", Forbes Magazine</ref>. However, Bricklin instead turned to marketing the Chery line of Chinese cars<ref> "First Chinese cars to hit U.S. shores"</ref>.


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. A then-unknown Ryan Stiles also appeared in one ad. <ref></ref> The Yugo also carried the tagline "Everybody needs a Yugo sometime" <ref></ref>. 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. <ref> PETERS, E (2004): Automotive Atrocities: The Cars We Love to Hate. Motorbooks International.</ref> . A popular ad included the 39-90 campaign, a play on the $3,990 price of the car.

Past Models in the Koral Range

Yugo 45 derivative models have included the Yugo 55, 60, 65, Koral, Ciao, Tempo, Cabrio, GV, GV Plus, GVX, and GVL. Yugo engines had been fitted with a carburetor until late into the 1980s before fuel-injected models (starting with Koral 65) were introduced beginning with the GVX-EFI (Electronic fuel injection), which featured a 1300 cc engine designed by Porsche for Fiat. The fuel injection system was provided by BOSCH and had Multiport fuel injection with a three-way catalytic converter and "Lambda" sensor.

Current models

Zastava currently sells an updated version of the Yugo 45 model in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Poland and Egypt. As well as all the Koral versions available, other models include the Florida and Skala. In October 2005, an agreement with Fiat was reached for production of the Fiat Punto by Zastava for Eastern European markets, which will be known as the Zastava 10. The Koral IN L, with a fuel injected 1.1 L Peugeot engine, met the European Union safety standards in a test supervised by the German Technischer Überwachungsverein (Technical Monitoring Association). This may pave the way for export to E.U. countries.

Criticism and response

Along with other Central and Eastern Europe vehicles marketed in the West during the 20th century - such as Lada and Škoda - the Yugo was subjected to derision by critics who pointed to its use of old-generation Fiat technology and to alleged issues with build quality and reliability.

Defenders of the vehicle have counter-argued that the Yugo's reputation suffered due to an issue that also appeared with initially-inexpensive cars as the Chevrolet Chevette, Rambler, Crosley and others - dealers were finding that too many owners were considering inexpensive cars as "disposable", and were failing to perform basic maintenance such as oil changes.

As with all motor vehicles, Yugo's basic design requires a certain amount of regular maintenance. One critical issue specific to the Yugo was the need for regular replacement of the close-tolerance (known in the industry as an interference engine) engine's timing belt - every 40,000 miles. Though this requirement was stressed in owners' manuals, it was too frequently overlooked by owners. The factory also stresses the need for 89-octane fuels for the high-compression engines. Some Yugo owners have reported that regular oil changes and appropriate maintenance allow the cars to remain dependable and basically trouble-free. <ref></ref>

Owners of the Yugo and related models in the former Yugoslavia benefit from a ready supply of inexpensive spare parts due to general continuity in the car's design; local mechanics' ready familiarity with the Yugo also lowers the cost of ownership. Yugo owners in America can still generally find parts, and access to parts and service is assisted by design commonalities with the Fiat 127 and 128.


Popular culture

In the mid 1990's and several years after the last Yugo was imported into the United States, Kevin O'Callaghan, a professor at Manhattan School of Visual Arts, advertised for "Yugos dead or alive". O'Callaghan ended up with 39 mostly dead Yugos for $3,600 and asked his students to make objects of functional art from them. The exhibit entitled "Yugo Next" toured in 28 U.S. cities.


  • Dragnet - A 1987 movie with Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. The Yugo in question was issued to the pair when they wrecked several other cars and the police department was reluctant to issue them anything more expensive.
  • Drowning Mona - An explanation informs viewers that the setting (Verplanck, New York) was a test market for Yugos. The cars in the movie were provided by Apple Motors in Denver, Colorado.
  • The Birdcage - Features a yellow Yugo Cabrio in Miami.
  • Bowfinger - The main character produced a documentary called The Yugo Story.
  • Die Hard: With a Vengeance - Bruce Willis is seen driving a yellow Yugo on the FDR Drive in NYC (Samuel L. Jackson is in the passenger seat).
  • The Crow - A 1994 movie; in it, a Yugo meets its demise in a collision on a rainy night with a police car.
  • The Nutty Professor - A 1996 movie remake; in it, the professor makes mention of intending to purchase a Yugo instead of a sports car with his company's money.
  • Savior
  • Domino (film)


  • Paul Shanklin has a song, In A Yugo, which pokes fun at a liberal couple who buy a Yugo to save gas, only to end up being killed by a produce truck when they swerve to miss a baby duck. The song is sung to the tune of In the Ghetto by Elvis Presley.
  • The punk band Left Wing Fascists has a song called I drive a Yugo on the album A Mother's Nightmare.
  • In the Veggietale version of "Breakdown" (A song about a car falling apart by Relient K), Larry says he drives a Yugo.


  • Catalyst (by Laurie Halse Anderson)
  • Florida Roadkill
  • Needful Things
  • The Stand (uncut version)


  • Saturday Night Live: SNL debuted a spoof television commercial in 1986 for an extremely cheap subcompact car called "Adobe," (a Renault Le Car in disguise) which according to the advertisement is literally made of clay and sells for only $179. The pitchman (played by Phil Hartman) prefaces the car's introduction by declaring, "These days, everyone's talking about the Hyundai, and the Yugo. Both nice cars, if you've got $3,000 or $4,000 to throw around."
  • The Simpsons: Episode #9F07 (Mr. Plow) makes a reference to the Yugo. After totaling both family cars in a drunk driving incident, Homer Simpson makes his way to "Crazy Vaclav's Place of Automobiles" and test drives a subcompact car from a country that "no longer exists". Crazy Vaclav goes on to tell Homer that the car "gets 400 hectares to a tank of kerosene." As Homer attempts to start the car Crazy Vaclav shouts for Homer to "Put it in 'H'!", which is a reference to the Cyrillic alphabet used in the Serbian written language. In Serbian the word for 'Neutral' is 'Neutralan', which is written "Неутралан" with an H.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: At the beginning of every episode Drew Carey makes a joke explaining that the points are useless. In one episode, he said "The points are as useless as a fully loaded, top of the line, Yugo."
  • Yahoo! - the online Internet search engine ran a commercial during NASCAR races featuring a racing team using Yahoo! to get parts for their Yugo race car (making it jet propelled). Team Yugo gets to win the race.
  • Midas - a U.S. automotive repair chain, did a commercial featuring a guy shouting "woo-hoo" whilst performing crazy stunts in a Yugo. As the car is about to crash into a lake the commercial cuts to the shop and the spokesman says "Yugo, what are you going to do?"
  • Moonlighting (TV series): In one episode, David Addison (Bruce Willis) has to drive Yugo instead of 'Maddie' Hayes's (Cybill Shepherd) BMW.
  • My Name is Earl - the car Earl siphons gas out of in "Something to Live For" is a Yugo.
  • Malcolm in the Middle - Malcolm's principal drives a Yugo (in question) in very bad mechanical condition. <ref>Malcolm in the Middle Episode 90, production code: 06-03-505, Malcolm Films Reese</ref>
  • Home Improvement - When Mark is doing his science project, Tim brings out a box filled with foam balls to be used as planets, to which Mark replies, "There aren't that many planets" Tim replied, "Sure there are" and named off car brands as planets. He grabbed a small ball out the box and said, "And this planet's Yugo. I think this planet was destroyed" and threw it behind him.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken - in a Summer 2006 commercial for their product, the "Ultimate Cheese Snacker", two men are sitting in a 1986 Yugo GV stopped at a toll gate and, consequently, blocking traffic from moving through the gate. The men are not able to pass through the toll gate because the passenger says that he has "used all of his (the driver's) change for the new 99 cent Ultimate Cheese Snacker."
  • Jeremy Clarkson: Unleashed on Cars - Jeremy Clarkson claimed the Zastava Yugo was "A hateful, hateful car" in this 1996 video. He then proceeded to shoot and run it over with a Chieftan tank. Although the shooting scene was clearly staged (an explosion within the car) the running over part was real and predictably reduces the car to a solid flat sheet of metal.


  • Winner of Car Talk 2000's Worst Car of the Millenium contest.



See also


External links

Official websites

Owner's and Fan clubs

News & Miscellaneous