Perhaps you recall the Yugos, tinny US$5,000 cars that shed their parts on US roads, provided owners could get them started. \nThe two-door Balkan clunkers now are remembered mostly for the jokes they inspired. Many are still found on Web sites: What do you call the shock absorbers in a Yugo? Answer: Passengers. \nHow do you make a Yugo go 60 miles an hour? Answer: Push it off a cliff. \nSo who, aside from a new generation of standup comics, wants to see these lemons back on highways, or their shoulders? Try Malcolm Bricklin, a sweet-talking promoter who has gone bankrupt selling gull-wing cars and motorized bikes in the past. \nBricklin, 63, was behind the Yugo's previous ill-fated US venture in the 1980s. He says he's now assured of high-quality auto production and has enough financing to promise drivers that they'll be satisfied. \n"I've got lots of investors, lots of places to get money," he said. Bricklin is seeking 12 distributors who will each be required to appoint 15 to 25 dealers. All need to provide letters of credit and buy stock in his company, Bricklin said. \nSome more Yugo jokes: How do you double a Yugo's value? Answer: Fill up the gas tank. \nOr, man walks into auto parts store, says: "I'll take a gas cap for a Yugo." "Sounds like a fair trade," says the clerk. \nThese old jokes didn't stop PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe's second-largest automaker, from announcing last week that it agreed to sell up to 5,000 engines a year to Yugoslavia's Group Zastava Cars, where the Yugos were manufactured. \nThe engines will enable Zastava to meet West European pollution regulations, increase exports and rebuild after a decade of war and economic collapse in Yugoslavia. \nThe Zastava factory in Serbia, damaged by a NATO air strike in 1999, managed to resume production with funds from Slobodan Milosevic's government. \nStill, whether this plant can produce the 60,000 cars that Bricklin says he intends to sell by next year is debatable, to say the least. The factory only made 2,000 cars in the first quarter, and plans to raise output to 2,000 a month by May. \nBy the way, know what makes a Yugo faster? Answer: A tow truck. \nLikewise, Yugo owners were glad the rear window was heated. \nIt kept their hands warm while pushing. \nWhatever his shortcomings, Bricklin has a flair for sniffing out trends. Sometimes he's ahead of his time. In 1968, Bricklin and a partner were the first to import Subaru cars from Japan. \nThen Bricklin left to build his gull-wing "safety car," the Bricklin SV-1, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. \nAfter turning out a few thousand cars, the venture ended badly for Bricklin -- and worse for workers and others stuck with his unpaid debts of US$30 million. \nIn 1985, he talked Zastava into giving him the US import rights to its model, built in Eastern Europe and based on outdated Fiat technology. \n"The people at the factory still remember those days as the finest time in their lives," he says. \nNot so the Americans who bought their output. The Yugos were the cheapest new cars on the block, but even Bricklin concedes they flopped because of poor quality. The workers had little incentive because "communism was still in force," he says. \nYugo imports folded in 1992 and Bricklin then tried his hand developing a bicycle powered by a 12-volt electric motor. That venture too went bust and investors lost several million. \nWhile some owners boasted on Web sites that their Yugos had chalked up tens of thousands of miles, many more simply abandoned their cars when they stopped running and couldn't be repaired. \nOne Web site depicts junked Yugos that a Manhattan art professor's students remodeled into everything from a Yugo toaster and Yugo bath with running shower to a Yugo Porto-potty. \nNow, after "vegetating" in Colorado a few years, Bricklin is back with a line of new Yugos, touting big plans and even bigger promises. "The car business is in my blood," he says. \nBricklin's company, Zastava Motor Works, will be based in Mahwah, New Jersey. The new Yugos or ZMWs -- initials that sound like another car -- will sell for US$5,000 to US$10,000, again making them the cheapest new cars on the block. \nBricklin says Zastava will be able to invest in quality car production since the war left the once overmanned factory with fewer workers to pay. Presumably, the flow of Peugeot engines will grow, and US dealers will be found to push the cars. \n``He does have a magic touch where rounding up dealers is concerned,'' said David Davis, editorial director of Primedia Inc's Motor Trend magazine. \n"The Koreans have a huge advantage, but you can't under-estimate him." In the 1980s, the Yugo collided with tough competition from South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co, which also imported cheap, low-quality cars. Now Hyundai is about to sell pricier models from a new factory in Alabama, leaving the bargain basement wide open for Bricklin. \nHey, wonder if the new Yugo's manual is like the old one. \nThat had a bus schedule.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted