6. Yugo GV
Back in the late 80’s, ex-Yugoslav car manufacturer, Crvena Zastava attempted to enter the American market with their compact model, the Yugo. The Yugo was a nice-looking three-door hatchback built on the Fiat 127 chassis. They also added some improvements in design and technology. Under the hood was a 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection. For the U.S., market, the buyers got updated equipment, a radio and even AC as an option.
From today’s standpoint, the Yugo was a basic, primitive, odd production car, but for the middle of the 80’s, it was a decent solution to the economy car dilemma. The Fiat mechanics were relatively common in America since Fiat has just left the U.S. market in the early 80’s. So, why did the Yugo receive such bad reviews from consumers back in the day? Why do people consider it to be one of the worst cars ever sold on the American market?
The reason was simple.
Both the driving dynamics and quality were horrible, even by the standards of the day. The engine sent 65 HP to the front wheels over a badly-assembled five-speed manual gearbox. The performance was painfully slow, but that is not the worst thing. The fit and finish were bad.
To make things worse, Yugo importer Malcolm Bricklin didn’t import enough spare parts. This means if your Yugo broke down, as they all did eventually, the spare parts had to travel for months from Yugoslavia to America.
Despite all that, the Yugo was somewhat of a sales success, selling over 40,000 of them. The price of $4,000 was one of the reasons for Yugo’s success. It was the most affordable automobile for sale in America when it entered the U.S. market.