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Zastava Current Models (2006)
During the 1970s and '80s, Zastava sold its compact cars in North and South America and Western Europe under the "Yugo" brand. Its final model, the Yugo Sana, was styled by Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and launched in 1990, but its career was cut short by the Yugoslav wars, and Yugo had disappeared from most Western markets by 1993. In 1999, the factory came under NATO bombing during the Kosovo War missions.
Like fellow Eastern bloc manufacturer AutoVAZ, maker of the Lada, the post-communist era has been difficult for the company, and following its withdrawal from Western markets, has developed few new models such as Yugo Florida and continues to manufacture the Fiat 128 based range of cars for the various Balkan states.
In September 2005, the company signed a new agreement with Fiat - under the name Zastava 10 the factory will produce a version of the 2003 Fiat Punto for the Balkans. It is scheduled to make up to 16,000 cars yearly. In October 2005, Zastava concluded an agreement with the US weapons manufacturer Remington Arms to offer its sporting arms in North America.
The 1950s and 1960's
The first vehicles in Kragujevac were Ford trucks. They were made exclusively for the Yugoslavian Army in the late 30's, since today's "Zastava" was a gun factory named Vojno-Tehnicki Zavod (Army Technical Institute). A small number of vehicles was made until the outbreak the war in 1941. Then in the early 50's some number of Jeeps was made, but the deal with Willys-Overland (Chrysler) went off, and the production stopped.
After the second world war the factory got a new name: Zavodi Crvena Zastava (meaning "Red Flag Plant"; later the "Crvena" (Red) was dropped from the name). It first started building passenger cars in 1954. The first Zastava cars were variants of the Fiat 1400, 1300 and 1900. The 1300 cm3 four door sedan, known in Italy as "Milletrecento", was a modern car at that time. (Fiat introduced it in 1961.) Many people in former Yugoslavia think it was the best car ever made by Zastava, despite to the fact it is forty years old model.
Next came the Zastava 750 in 1962. It was almost the same as the FIAT 600D but badged as a zastava and a few minor changes i.e. Speedometer, Seats, Door handles, (4cyl, 767 cm3 , 25 HP OHC engine, rear wheel drive). Its mass production started in the early sixties, it was produced until 1981 however they were still made until 1985. Documents on some Zastava 750's prove this.
Throughout the 60's Zastava built more Fiat based cars that evolved from the 1100, 1300/1500, 124, and 125 Fiat models. But Fiat 124 and 125 were never built in Yugoslavia. The Fiat 125 was imported from Italy and later from Poland. FIAT 124 was very rare in Yugoslavia.
In the beginning of the seventies Zastava made another arrangement with Fiat. In 1971 Zastava introduced the Zastava 101 (4cyl, 1116 cm3 OHC, 55HP, front wheel drive), which is based on Fiat 128. It had a restyled rear panel, and later became available as a hatchback, a style that had not ever been released in Italy.
It was said that model 101 should be produced in Yugoslavia for both Yugoslav and Italian market, and vice versa, in the Italian market would have been sold under the marque Innocenti. It was known in Serbo-Croatian as Sto Jedan (101), but soon nicknamed Stojadin ("a hundred troubles"), due to the poor performance of the first models. In spite of this negative record, the car was a good seller in the domestic market. Yugoslavs used to buy it because of its moderate price, simple mechanics, cheap spare parts and low maintenance cost.
In the mid-seventies, Zastava management decided to develop a new model, still based on the same Fiat engine. It was originally to be known as Zastava 102, but the name was dropped in 1981 and the car released as Yugo 45. It was styled by Zastava with some help from Fiat engineers. Technically it was related to the Fiat 127 but keeping much of the Fiat 128 mechanics, externaly it followed the style of the Autobianchi A112 but with a more square appearance. Several variants were made with 903cc, 1116cc, and 1301cc engines. The 1116cc and the 1301cc versions were sold in the USA as the Yugo GV, GVL, GVS, GVX, GV Plus, and the Cabrio, a convertible.
Later in the eighties, the Yugo 45 went through several modifications, most importantly the adoption of a 5-speed gearbox. The marque used for passenger cars was changed from Zastava to Yugo. The Yugo 45 and its derivative models were later renamed Yugo Koral, the Zastava 101 range (based on the Fiat 128, available as sedan or hatchback) were also unified under a single model denomination, Zastava Skala. Nonetheless, the numerical clasification would still stand for some export markets, as it was the case for the United Kingdom.
These were Zastava's best years in number of cars assembled, around 230,000 cars a year. Zastava cars were to be sold in 70 countries at the time, with 27,000 exported to Western markets. The factory also started to make trucks, under IVECO licence.
In 1988 a new model was released called the Zastava Florida (known as Yugo Sana or Yugo Sana Miami, in some countries). Its exterior designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, with a body shape similar to Fiat Tipo or Citroën ZX.
In the early 90's, Zastava was affected greatly by the Balkan Crisis. The factory production became unstable because problem with supplies. Exports were impossible during those years, because trade sanctions against Yugoslavia. Between 1992 and 1995 it was under UN sanctions, and then between 1998 and 2000 it was under EU and US sanctions. As a result, many of Zastava subsidiaries abroad were forced to cease trading, as it was the case with Zastava (GB) Ltd, in the United Kingdom, and Yugo Cars, in the United States.
In 1999, during the Kosovo War, NATO aircraft deliberately bombed the Zastava conglomerate plant in Kragujevac, as it was considered a military target as Zastava Arms infrastructure was also located on site. Nevertheless, the bombing did not completely halt the production, as there were still three working shifts even during the height of NATO bombing (Zastava factory has operated continuously since it was built). Some of the car manufacturing buildings were damaged and workers injured.
After the war, there were trade talks to Hungarian firms, to assemble Yugos in Hungary, but this agreement haven't been concluded because of hesitating of the Yugoslavian partner. (But Zastava Trucks are assembling in Hungary, near to Pécs, with IVECO engine.)
Yugos were face-lifted and new versions are introduced in the Belgrade International Motor Show in 2002. The new Yugo Koral IN had a 1,3l 80HP motor with BOSCH electronic injection, the transmission designed by Porsche, slightly new internal and external design, improved safety, and lots of extra details which were missing from former models.
The new generation of Yugo was granted a FIA certificate, so it was in compliance with European standards.
In October 2000, Vojislav Koštunica (also a Yugo owner) became the new president of Yugoslavia, and soon after the sanctions against the country were lifted, so the export market was once again open. The production had fallen to a mere 9 percent of its pre-1990 230,000 vehicles annual capacity, with exports of around 4,000 vehicles. The new Yugoslav government a $50 million reorganization effort in cooperation with the World Bank, which resulted in mass layoffs, and its intention to privatize the company.
A new prototype for the Yugo Florida, know as Florida 2.0 was made, equipped with the same engine of Fiat Bravo 2.0.
Cancelled Project: Zastava Motor Works
In 2002 the American entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin, who had previously imported Yugo into the United States, signed a deal with Zastava to re-introduce the company's products back in America. Bricklin's intention was to sell the cars for less than $10,000, under the brand name ZMW (as in Zastava Motor Works) which in the United States would, of course, be pronounced Zee-M-W. However, even though a website proclaiming the brands arrival was produced by Bricklin's company, by 2006 his intentions had switched to importing products from Chinese car marker Chery instead.
Zastava currently sells Zastava Korals in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Greece, Lebanon, Czech Republic, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Poland and Egypt. As well as all the Koral versions available, other models include the Florida and Skala.
In October 2005, an agreement with Fiat was reached for production of the Fiat Punto by Zastava for Eastern European markets, which would be commercialed as the Zastava 10. The Koral IN L, with a fuel injected 1.1 L Peugeot engine, met the European Union safety standards in a test supervised by the German Technischer Überwachungsverein (Technical Monitoring Association). This may pave the way for export to E.U. countries.
In addition to the Zastava 10, Zastava is currently negotiating with Fiat for the production rights to another model not yet in production, a C-segment sedan, codenamed Project D200, to be manufactured for Fiat by Zastava and/or Tofaş of Turkey. It will compete with the Dacia Logan.
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- ↑ http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/6799b62184dfcb176d6527c181b70290/compdetails UK Companies House record ond Zastava (GB) Limited
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/314953.stm "Human chains guard Nato targets", BBC News. Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
- ↑ http://www.agitprop.org.au/stopnato/19991217zastnasy.php
- ↑ http://globalpolitician.com/articledes.asp?ID=2058&cid=3&sid=97
- ↑ http://www.invest-in-serbia.com/archive/2002_05/2002_05_12_1.htm
- ↑ http://www.forbes.com/2002/04/23/0423yugo.html
- ↑ http://www.dispatch.com/business-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/02/22/20060222-D1-03.html
- ↑ http://www.zastava10.com Zastava 10 Official Website
- ↑ http://www.zastava-yugo.de/pageID_2968427.html
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