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.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a