Hugo has a bad reputationIt is often called by the title . worst car ever, and many would say its reputation is fully earned. That was not the view Yugo’s US customers had. Finance and Supply It was only after several years in the American market that Hugo began to use harsh words, trampled by his chain problems.
Daryl Lardon remembers that. He would know – he sold a brand new Yugo in the 1980s. Rardon made some suggestions this week. Insights into the Yugos sales experience on Twitter, but I wanted to dig deeper into the car’s earliest, brightest days.
According to Rardon, Yugoslavia’s appeal was simple. With a suggested retail price of about $4,000 (equivalent to about $10,900 in 2022 dollars), it was America’s cheapest new car when it arrived in 1986. Such value propositions typically attract younger and lower-income buyers. Darkened the door of his dealership in Tampa, Florida, where Rardon worked from 1986 until he sold the Yugo franchise the following year.
First-time car buyers, people upgrading from motorcycles, people in need of cheap and efficient transportation – these were the typical Hugo buyers. I was able to provide something that was not available in It’s a guarantee.
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While the lowest prices got people to walk into Yugo’s showroom, Rardon explained that the car made a strong first impression on customers. Yugo used more metal to build the car than typical economy cars of the time (partly to compensate for the poor material), giving the car a solid, well-built feel. . In Rardon’s words, “It was a decent little hatchback.” Of course, the car had some peculiarities. God told me I couldn’t find a reverse in Yugo,’ but overall, the car was solid enough to make a case for itself.
It wasn’t until after the car left the showroom that the problems began to emerge. Yugos required more frequent maintenance than most conventional cars of the time, including some quirks inherited from Fiat. In particular, the cable that operates the clutch is a problem that often raises heads before the first test drive.
As time went on, it became more and more troublesome to maintain Yugo. Parts were often in short supply and the lack of factory support from Yugoslavia put dealers in a bind. Rardon’s dealer sent technicians to his local Fiat showroom multiple times to pick up parts that could be shared between the two brands.Of course, in our modern world Global supply chain failureIs it any wonder that 40 years ago small car companies struggled to transport parts halfway around the world?
“If the dealers were good, they could have kept them on the road,” Rardon told me. . Precision Imports sold his Yugos alongside Saabs, Peugeots and Isuzus. These three outlandish brands were unable to accurately fund a fourth brand with unprofitable sales. If the Yugo is going to stay on dealership grounds, the brand needs to pull its weight out.
To keep the price under $4,000, showrooms had to live up to the tight margins of small hatchbacks. Some dealers Offer of markup accessories, others tried to make a difference through fundraising. The latter plan worked for a while, but it didn’t take long for Banks to develop an aversion to Yugoslavia. Low resale values, combined with the often spotty credit histories of the brand’s core customers, have led financiers to begin raising interest rates on America’s cheapest cars.
“Once they become bank pariahs, it’s over,” Rardon told me. Financing was no longer about making money for dealers. In the case of Precison Imports, profit, not reliability or reputation, was the motivation for selling the Yugoslavia franchise. It wasn’t enough.
The Yugo was created as a basic, functional form of transportation at the lowest price many Americans were willing to pay. But the car needed a dealer to survive. Once banks made low-end cars unprofitable, dealers soon found it hard to justify keeping their brands. No wonder Yugo died, but it’s worth remembering that Brand’s death was never the car’s fault.