Yugo first

Coming soon to a dealer near you: communist cars.

Malcolm Bricklin, the serial car entrepreneur who introduced the infamous Yugo to America in the 1980s, is on his way to importing cars straight outta China. His company, Visionary Vehicles, has partnered with Chinese auto company Chery to create and import “high-quality, stylish cars,” and has priced them 30 percent lower than comparable models currently on sale in the U.S. Hmmm. As only a communist government can?

No matter how good they are, thoughts of cars from the dark side always remind us of East Germany’s Trabant (above), a tribute, if ever there was one, to Soviet-era “craftsmanship.”

Anyway, the 2007 fleet will launch with five models: a compact; mid-size and crossover sedans; a luxury sport coupe; and an SUV. To dispel concerns about the quality of cars made in China, Visionary announced that its vehicles will come with 10-year/100,000-mile warranties.

Yugo America didn’t last long. Its tiny hatchbacks, manufactured in Yugoslavia, were pulled off the market in 1992 following weak sales and rampant complaints about poor quality. (Though, of course, that didn’t stop agencies from thirsting for the account.)

—Posted by Celeste Ward

Credit: Zuma Press