Is t time for another $10k new car?
I had this postcard tacked to my wall amid all the other car ads I saved from around this time. Another find from my trip to the ’87 Detroit auto show. Brings back memories.
Makes me wonder about the process of the casting call for this ad, which clearly pronounces, “The Yugo is for everyone!”
In the 1980s, ads with “large groups of random people” seemed to be popular, but this is probably the best collection of people I’ve seen. Each persona is exaggerated just enough to be amusing.
Considering used cars with 30k miles on the clock are selling for more than the original window stick price, a Yugo doesn’t sound so crazy!!
Don’t laugh, Jazzercise is making a comeback!!
Maybe it’s time for Renault to come back to the USA. With some finessing they might able to sell a new Dacia Sandero in the US for around $10K.
Build it in Mexico. Sell it as a Nissan.
This image was also used for the cover of Yugo’s 1987 brochure. Here’s another enjoyable image from inside of the brochure:
This looks like a great photo to create your own captions.
“Honestly Roger, It’s the technical equivalent of two rubber bands and some clothes pins. I take it to the same mechanic that works on my Bricklin”.
“You can’t fool me! The hood scoop DOESN’T mean it has a turbo!”
Mom to son:
“Brad – you are looking at the most expensive part of this new Yugo – the spare!”
Given that the manufacturers can’t get parts (particularly chips) to build enough high-margin units, I can only imagine their lack of enthusiasm for building these $10,000 appliances.
At approximately $10k, the Mirage of today seems like a far better deal than the Yugo of 1986.
The Mirage is a good little car. My son has one, a 2017 5-speed. He autocrosses it (and has gotten better times than Porsches). It does have some suspension and tire mods, but the engine’s stock…
I’d agree that the Mirage is just fine, but it’s far above $10k, closer to $15k, take the chip shortage and couple that with current gas prices and there are probably more out there offered at over MSRP than well under it.
There is though plenty in a Mirage that could likely be decontented, it isn’t nearly as hairshirt as some make it out to be.
We took a closer look at one that had outlived its apparent value a while back, it had luxuries unheard of in the Mercedes S-Class of the other day:
About 8 months ago, I had a great offer for my (then) current car due to the used car prices being so high. I wanted to sell and actually make some money on it, but I wasn’t having luck finding something to replace it with. What I really wanted was to pick up another Chevy Spark (great little cars by the way), but the nearest one for sale new was over 900 miles away. I ended up looking at a brand new 2021 Mirage and the dealer was 5 miles away and had two of them sitting. They were the higher end trim with an MSRP of about $19,900. However, that dealer had a bunch of junk added along with a $3,000 “market adjustment” which brought that car to nearly $25,000!!
I can’t say how it drove because I just laughed and walked away, but I can say that sitting in it and looking the car over while there showed that the Spark was far nicer and much higher quality. Anyhow, a few months past and I ended up getting a great deal on a new 2021 Chevy Malibu LT (paid $23,300 before tax) and was still able to sell my other car at a profit.
Agree on the Spark being about the best on the cheap end of the new car market. Sadly, 2022 will be the final year.
rudiger: Yes, that is sad and true. I’ve owned several of the Sparks over the last 8 years. My first was a cool yellow (lemonade) 2LT and I loved it for the one week before someone decided to rear end me while I was at a stop light. The replacement for that ended up being an all electric Spark (1LT in electric blue). Also loved that car for the time of the lease. The last one was a 2020 gas 1LT Special Edition that I liked even more and wish I had kept it honestly. But we can’t change the past.
I sure wish Chevy would just re-design the Spark for 2023 with some updates, but keep it lower priced and affordable. But no, instead they are replacing it with yet another suv/cuv box.
While many people would like to spend only $10k on a new car, the compromises necessary to make it that cheap would probably doom it, and stigmatize drivers the same way the Yugo did. It might be successful if it had a fun or quirky image – that worked for the Beetle – or if it were a very decontented version of a normal-looking car from a reputable brand like Toyota. But tiny cars don’t sell here in the U.S., and antiquated cars from politically unstable countries don’t sell.
Yugo did try to evoke the Beetle’s spirit in its early ads… but for some reason it just didn’t resonate with people…
I expect the first Chinese ride from a Chinese nameplate offered here to do just that.
Obviously with better long-term success.
The first Chinese branded car in the US will most likely be an EV, likely from Nio or Li Auto or maybe Xpeng. Pricing will be far higher than the Yugo or Mirage, more in line with but perhaps somewhat less than whatever passes for “established” EV offerings here currently and may well end up being the next big shock to Detroit’s system. All three are selling in volume already and at least Nio and Xpeng are currently in parts of Europe as well as planning to expand there with Li Auto likely close behind.
The Village People will be late to the village today because their Yugo broke down.
There aren’t many vehicles left that you can get out the door under $20k. Mirage, Versa, Rio, and Accent pretty much fills out the list. Any of them are 147x better than a Yugo, but at twice the (adjusted) price.
American Honda recently announced an expanded CPO program for cars up to 10 years old. Most manufacturers/importers/dealers would prefer you buy a used one of their cars (keeps resale values up) than to bother building a cheap new car.
The problem with many cheap cars is the owners who treat them as a disposable product.
What’s wrong with that? Drive your $10,000 Spark in the winter for ten years and then junk it.
If I lived in snowy parts, I’d have a Spark as a winter beater and drive my Golf in the good months.
Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it tends to make them less desirable as used
units and potentially skew reliability/durability ratings.
Chrysler should have never killed the PT Cruiser. It would be a $10,000 car today (if they could find a way to build it without many chips). Bring back Plymouth to sell the PT Cruiser and the Voyager (fleet spec Pacifica). Maybe rebadge a Compass or Cherokee too. Call it the Fury.
I think I should apply for a management job at Chrysler now actually. Lol.
I worked for Chrysler at the tail end of the PT craze. After the initial frenzy when the car came out, sales fell off a cliff. The reason was that the PT was based on the Neon, which was simply not a very reliable car.
Most buyers are not going to pony up cash for a 20+ year old design. Old guys wax about it, however.
Agree 100%. Nostalgia fans want to “see” old car designs for sale, but expect “others” to pay for them. PT was played out and a joke by 2009, in the left lane of Interstates, going 44 mph.
There younger demographic would have embraced a PT Cruiser with a $10,000 MSRP. In 2010, the advertised base price for a PT Cruiser was $19,000 and RISING because of the “Car Czar’s decree.”
The PT Cruiser was purchased mostly by rental agencies by that point and even the rental agencies balked at the car czar’s insane pricing and I assume stated buying Nissan Versa hatchbacks instead.
OK. How about the new Brazil sourced PT Cruiser (Fiat Mobi)?
It’ s a “chipped” Yugo.
This was tried in Canada with the now discontinued Nissan Micra and the still available (in theory) Chevrolet Spark. The Spark was $10k plus freight and PDI but now it $10,398 CAD. That $8330 USD. On the road, with taxes, is $13661 CAD. That’s $10,700 USD.
That Spark has cranker windows and no a/c. They are very rare but I saw one on the weekend. The el-strippo model is largely for Quebec, where cheap little cars are used as winter beaters.
Typical buyers want “bells and whistles” and not ‘hot, stuffy, cars’ without A/C. Power window motors are more reliable and cheaper today, too. Domestic brand loyalists are the one who still say “less things to break’, since for years, optional features were breakable and poor quality, to get trade ins sooner.*
So no, the stripped Yugo or Excel is a no sale. People want “luxury for less” and are not going back to new Chevettes with cardboard door panels and 69 hp.
*”Get a new one” was the common answer from dealer service writers, to those who had 4-5 year old cars with major problems. Why power windows still have the ‘breakable’, image with old timers.
If ever there was a disposable “modern” (to me, modern starts in the mid 1950s, definitely by mid-60s) car, this Yugo was it.
My impression is that these cars struggled to make it to 3 years in the US. By the early/mid 90s, they had vanished.
It’s not so much the lack of creature comforts. If one is in a car that works, today, be it a 1962 Falcon with three on the tree, or a 1972 Dart or 1990 Civic, people can get used to that. Some might even take pride or pleasure in driving a “basic, simple car”.
I am one of them. I would like a small, decent, fairly fun car. The one creature comfort I would want in a new car is A/C.
It’s that these Yugos would be constantly in the shop, for the government-mandated emissions warranty. The owners would be aggravated and the manufacturer would be paying a small fortune in warranty claims. THAT would doom these cars today.
By contrast, the Chevette was not constantly in the shop, and many continued on the roads.
Updating their quality to recent Fiat 500 levels would put the price in the mid teens. The Fiat 500 is definitely NOT the class leader in quality/durability (quite the opposite), but it is a credible car.
I must be an old-timer now, since, yes, I do worry about power windows, though not that I think of it, it’s been about 20 years since I’ve known some one who had to get them fixed, and about 30 years since I had to fix one in my dad’s 85 (Fox) LTD.
I’d rather pay $9840 for a new 3 cyl Metro with a/c than a Yugo. If only Chevrolet wasn’t killing the Spark and Trax by the end of the summer.
I think the era of cheap while still being decent new cars is ending.
They still do exist, but there’s simply no market for them in the US.
Like the highly successful Dacia brand. And the current Kia Picanto/Hyundai i10 are fairly new and completely up-to-date citycars. Plus the upcoming Toyota Aygo X (without Stellantis-versions).
In the mid nineties I had four Croatian friends at the university who pooled their resources (I think it was $800) to buy a rusty, wheezy old Yugo. They said they felt comfortable wrenching on it as that is what their families had back home. They had worked out a sharing program where each one had the car for one weekend a month.
It’s like the wonderful ice cream suit!
All I can say is I never saw a Yugo with a broken crankshaft. I have seen 2 Hyundai Excel’s with broken cranks.
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