Tony O'Kane | Nov 24, 2008

Zastava's Serbian assembly plant has built its final Koral - also affectionately known as the Yugo - and has begun the sad task of powering down machines, smashing dies and switching off the lights.

It's the end of an era for the Balkan manufacturer, which began production of the long-lived Yugo back in 1978. Since then the blocky subcompact has undergone little change, with the same basic Fiat 128-derived platform underpinning every Zastava Koral up until the present day.

Known more for its bargain-basement cost than anything else, the Koral/Yugo always suffered from a poor reputation for build quality. Even so, the model still managed to win over the odd enthusiast and with a total production run of over 794,000 cars, it proved to be surprisingly popular - particularly in the USA, where it was sold for less than USD$4500 and came with a 10-year/100,000km warranty

Although Zastava production has finished up in the Balkans, it's by no means the end for the brand. Efforts are underway to set up a manufacturing base for the Skala 55, Koral and Florida models in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and production of the Zastava 128 continues in Egypt.

As for the Serbian assembly plant, that will be reopened soon under a new banner and will be primarily used to build the Fiat Punto.

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