11. Yugo GV
Back in the late ’80s, the ex-Yugoslav car manufacturer, Crvena Zastava attempted to enter the American market with their compact model, the Yugo. The Yugo was an attractive three-door hatchback they built on a Fiat 127 base. But it also came with some improvements in design and technology. Under the hood was a 1.1-liter four-cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection. But for the U.S. market, the buyers got better equipment, a radio, and even AC as an option.
From today’s standpoint, the Yugo was a basic and even a primitive car. However, for the middle of the ’80s, it was a decent proposition and a solution to the economy car dilemma. The Fiat mechanics were relatively common in the U.S. since Fiat has just left the American marketplace in the early ’80s. So, why did the Yugo receive such bad reviews from Consumer Reports back in the day?
The reason was simple: driving dynamics and quality. Both 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. Also, the fit and finish were bad.
And to make things worse, Yugo importer, Malcolm Bricklin didn’t import enough spare parts. So, if your Yugo broke down, and eventually they all did, the spare parts traveled for months from Yugoslavia to America. Despite that, the Yugo was somewhat of a sales success because they sold over 40,000 of them. The $4,000 price tag was one of the reasons. The Yugo was the most affordable automobile for sale in America when they introduced it.