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Zastava (Yugo) for Sale

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SOURCE: Detroit News

Yugo carmaker up for sale
Associated Press

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Serbia's only carmaker and producer of the much-maligned Yugo will be sold next year, the government said today.

In an advertisement published in the Politika daily, Serbia's Privatization Agency said nearly 90 percent of the company's shares will be sold in April.

Zastava, based in the central city of Kragujevac, first exported the Yugo to the United States in 1986 for less than $4,000.

The Yugo was derided by critics, including Consumer Reports magazine, which said it "barely qualified as a car."

The Yugo was removed from the U.S. market in the early 1990s following U.S. sanctions against Yugoslavia and Zastava faltered as the nation plunged into civil war.

Serbia's privatization minister, Mladjan Dinkic, said Thursday he expected at least two major international companies to take part in the bidding for Zastava. He did not elaborate.

Officials said the minimum price for Zastava will be announced in April.


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That is not a bad looking car, not exciting, but not too bad; it definately looks better than a Corolla, MY08 or MY09.

The funny thing is about 2 winters ago in central Ohio I saw a Yugo in a parking lot of a BP gas station. It was probably the worst excuse for a car I had ever seen, but to its credit it was still on the road.
This may not seem to be all that significant at first -- but considering the fact that the "new frontier" for autodom is the "ultra-cheap" vehicle, Zastava may be a perfect takeover target for a major automaker.

We all have seen what Renault has done with Dacia in Romania (and to a lesser extent, Samsung in South Korea). We also know that Tata is rushing to get an ultra cheap model to market in India and third world markets. Lastly, we also know that GM and Toyota are looking to play in this field.

We've also recently seen other similar operations show up on the auction block and great interest has arose: AvtoVAZ in Russia and Proton in Malaysia. We know that Proton didn't work out, but Renault got AvtoVAZ. We also know GM is looking to partner with another Russian automaker and take a stake (Graz, I believe).

Could we see a major western automaker make a bid?

I would imagine that the company with the very best chance would be Fiat since they already have a long partnership with them -- but who else may make a bid?

Interesting to see how this will pan out....
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I could do it.

I'll give 'em 10 bucks for the lot.
I could do it.

I'll give 'em 10 bucks for the lot.
For that thing? I'd think that $5 would suffice.
Dont laugh too much.
THey could be making profits before the Amertican makers, lol
Zastava has a long history of relationship with Fiat (the pictured Zastava 10 is a license-built previous-gen Punto recently handed down to the Serbians by Turin), although they are reportedly about to start the assembly of Opel Astra Classics next year, which would make for an interesting short-list of investors interested.

A few other facts worth noting:

1. Volkswagen already has a manufacturing plant in Sarajevo, the capital of neighbouring Bosnia & Herzegovina
2. Renault, apart from Dacia, also has a manufacturing plant in Slovenia, which currently produces the Clio Campus (previous-gen Clio) and the Campus-based new Twingo.
3. IIRC, Ford just won over GM in the battle to acquire the remains of Rodae - the former Oltcic plant in Romania (Romania's "other" automaker), which later became one of Daewoo's orphans

So those three are probably well-positioned in the Balkans enough not to be interested (yet who knows).

Honda would probably be reluctant to purchase an existing plant with all the legacy stuff associated. I guess same holds true for Toyota.

My guess is that they might try to pit Fiat and GM against each other, and one would probably be willing to concede very early on (I'd suppose GM), although Fiat is still not awash with cash.

Another option is that the Ministry already has some plans for Zastava - do remember this is Serbia, a country where "connections" matter a lot, and if anything, Russia's way to "capitalism" might be somewhat indicative. OTOH, a Russian magnate might be interested, given the usual Russian interest in Serbia, perhaps Oleg Deripaska of GAZ/Basic Elements, or the AvtoVAZ guys...
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As long as the Croatians dont get it.
That Zastava 10 (pictured) didn't look bad at all.. When we think of Yugo, we think of the car that made it to the United States years ago (well, at least Americans do). That was a first effort - like the Hyundai Excel - but Hyundai was already a very established company in South Korea. These newer Yugos (Zastavas) would probably sell fine in America now...
C'mon GM, don't let this one get away! Bring the Koral back to America!
The Zastava pictured is actually a Fiat. Zastava builds them under contract from Fiat and sells them in Serbia (kind of how AutoVAZ send kits of Ladas to other Eastern bloc countries to be assembled in the market they were sold)
As long as the Croatians dont get it.
trust me, they dont want it!

Well if it doesn't work out with Ford, maybe Carlos Ghosn will give them a call.
I could remember calling it the "Ugo." I would have to say that the current design doesn't look all that bad.

I wonder if GM may make a bid for it. Who knows, maybe Ford or perhaps Renault may want to buy it. Ceberus? Why not.
Why would anyone want the left overs from Yugo? I do not think it will be any use to General Motors because Serbia is not a large auto market, GM should focus on trying to acquire a Russian car company or a company that already has the resources to build a sub $8,000 car which Yugo/Zastava does not.
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