DETROIT -- Yugo America Inc., the importer and distributor of the $3,990 Yugo GV subcompact, said Tuesday its 1986 sales level of 35,959 cars was hampered by an import goal that fell 20,000 units short of its 60,000 target.
'Our import target was not reached because we decided to slow down production last year and make 170 additional changes in the car beginning last May,' Yugo spokesman Jonas Halperin said. Those changes were made to make the car more suited to the U.S. market.
'Fortunately, we caught those problems in time and were able to handle all of them,' he said, adding that Yugo imported only 40,000 of its GV models from Yugoslavia last year, which constricted sales.
'We never projected sales but since last August our sales have constantly stayed over the 4,000 a month level,' he said.
But Halperin said Yugo is hoping sales for 1987 will run at about 6,000 cars a month starting in February, which would translate into about 70,000 cars for the full year.
'We can't get as many cars our dealers want,' he said. 'The wait at some dealers is between 30 and 40 days for a GV ... and our days supply is about the lowest of any car company at 33 days.'
Earlier this year Yugo President William Prior said sales of the Yugoslavian-made subcompact 'exceeded all expectations,' noting that the 'Yugo GV become the fastest selling European imported car in U.S. history.'
The GV, officially introduced to the U.S. market in August 1985, has recently been selling at an annual rate of about 52,000 units. Its base price of $3,990 was not raised for 1987, although a typically equipped GV sells for closer to $5,000 including destination charges.
Halperin said new Yugo models, including a convertible, will soon be sold in the United States.
Last August the privately held company, which does not report earnings, had first-year revenues of more than $122 million. Prior said he expects Yugo to post revenues of $300 million for its second year of business.
'We made a wonderful profit in our first year, and expect to make even more in our second year,' Halperin said.