NEW YORK - Malcolm Bricklin, co-founder of Subaru of America Inc. and Yugo America Inc., said he will reintroduce cars from Serbia's Zastava, the same manufacturer that made the Yugo.
The venture, Zastava Motor Works USA, is based in Mahwah, N.J.
Bricklin said he wants to sign up 10 to 12 U.S. distributors, each with about 15 to 20 dealers.
Styling of the cars will closely resemble concept cars that Zastava recently displayed at the Belgrade Auto Show earlier this month. Zastava is exploring using plastic body panels for restyling its existing models: the Koral, which is based on the old Yugo, and a bigger model, the Florida.
The range would include a sedan, sports car, convertible, and maybe a pickup, at an annual volume of around 60,000, Bricklin said.
Bricklin said Zastava is negotiating a contract for engines that will meet U.S. emissions regulations from "a major European manufacturer," which he is not prepared to name. Zastava vehicles would also have to meet U.S. passive safety requirements.
Bricklin said the vehicles can be ready for sale in 14 months at suggested retail prices of $5,000 to $10,000 each.
Bricklin, 63, co-founded U.S. auto distributors Subaru of America in 1968, and Yugo America in 1985.
Yugo America went bankrupt in January 1989 - months after Bricklin sold his share of parent company Global Motors Inc. to Mabon Nugent & Co., a Wall Street investment firm, and left the company. Yugo America, based in Upper Saddle River, N.J., closed in April 1992, in the middle of civil war in Yugoslavia.