Small Automaker Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Yugo America Inc., the troubled importer of inexpensive Yugoslavian-made cars, its parent company and an affiliate filed for protection under federal bankruptcy laws Monday despite objections from dealers.
Sagging sales and the loss of dealerships were among the pro Inc. said more than 300 companies and individuals may hold claims against them.
The Chapter 11 filing, which seeks protection from creditors while Yugo attempts to reorganize its finances, came as little surprise to industry analysts.
″Global Motors has had some financial difficulties for a while now,″ said California auto analyst Chris Cedergren of J.D. Power and Associates. ″They put a great deal of money into Global Motors hoping they would turn it around. It was sagging.
″It really didn’t help that much,″ he said.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Vincent J. Commisa signed an order allowing Impex Car Corp. to provide financing and take management control of the company, said Kenneth A. Rosen, a company attorney. Impex is an affiliate of Zavodi Crevna Zastava, the Yugoslavian manufacturer of the Yugo car.
″The purpose of the financing is to continue the sale of Yugo automobiles to dealers and to provide the supply of parts to dealers,″ said Rosen.
Dick Loehr, a Yugo dealer in Kalamazoo, Mich., who also sells other lines of cars, said that during a meeting Monday in New Orleans, dealers tried to talk company officials out of filing the bankruptcy papers.
″The dealers thought that the investors group (behind Yugo) was a bottomless pit,″ he said, adding that the dealers had heard rumors about a possible bankruptcy filing for some time.
Toma Savic, a Yugo sales representative from Yugoslavia, said after the dealers meeting that filing the papers will make it easier for Yugo to stay in business in the United States.
There are about 250 dealers in the United States selling the Yugo, a boxy subcompact car billed as the cheapest new auto in the United States when it went on sale in August 1985 at $3,995.
Automobile analyst Kathleen Heaney of Nikko Securities Co. International Inc. said the car’s design may have been to blame for the companies’ problems.
″I just think it wasn’t attractive and you might as well spend the extra thousand and get something else,″ she said. ″That’s what happened.″
Marcel Kole, the company’s acting chief executive officer, said the company is committed to doing business in the United States and filed for protection because of an inability to create cash flow.
Mabon Nugent and Co., a New York investment banking company that invested $10.5 million in Global Motors and owns 33 percent of the company, said the bankruptcy filing was welcome.
″It is appropriate that the Yugoslavian manufactuY-01-30-89 2037EST e doctors that if they did save it, and it was by no means a certainty, I’d have to undergo many operations and that I’d have to walk with a cane the rest of my life.
″They also said that the leg could be amputated right away and I could be fitted with a prosthesis. In either case, they said I’d never be able to box again.″
Bodzianowski had a 22-2 record with 11 knockouts before he lost the leg. Since his return to the ring, he is 9-2 with seven knockouts. Both losses were to Alfonso Ratliff, a former cruiserweight champion.
He came back in December 1985 after what he described as 19 months of fears, doubts and painful rehabilitation.
Ratliff said of Bodzianowski in April 1977, ″I’ve fought a lot of heavyweights, Mike Tyson, Tim Witherspoon, Pinklon Thomas ... and Craig hits as hard as any of them.″
It hasn’t been clear sailing for Bodzianowski. Some states won’t give him a license. Some states won’t even let him take a physical.
He has fought only once outside of Illinois, a TKO victory in Philadelphia over Dawud Shaw.
Dr. Louis van de Beek, one of three Pennsylvania Athletic Commission physicians, said after examining Bodzianowski:
″The young man’s adaptation to the artificial limb, in terms of agility, in terms of stability, and in terms of being sensitive to feeling to the prosthesis is quite remarkable. There should be no reason he shouldn’t be given medical clearance to fight in Pennsylvania.″
Some boxing people have described the Bodzianowski comeback a ″sideshow,″ and said he should not be allowed to continue.
″I’m the first professional fighter with an artificial leg,″ Bodzianowski said. ″I have to expect some opposition to what I’m doing. And, let’s face it, there is a little notoriety there, too. I know some people come to see me because they regard me as some kind of freak.
″But I’ve basically adopted the position that I don’t care what people say as long as they spell my name right. Hey, I was never that graceful when I had two good legs.″
He has another problem. Apparently most ranked boxers won’t fight him. They feel they have nothing to gain if they win and much to lose if they don’t.
Bodzianowski, a part owner of a health club, also trains hunting dogs, hunts big game with a bow and arrow and plays on softball and football teams. He’s a minor celebrity in the Chicago area.
″I think I’ve got all the luck in the world,″ he said. ″I run, play ball, do all my hunting. I knock out people. I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend. I do everything I ever did, except ride a motorcycle in the street.″
He insisted he’s going to win the cruiserweight title.
The writers also chose Jackie Joyner-Kersey, double Olympic gold medal winner, as Outstanding Athlete of the Year, and the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers as Team of the Year.