Big auto companies always dream of the elusive "global car." They could save big money by building one version of a car that they can sell all over the world with only trifling changes. And sometimes it happens -- as with Ford's new Focus compact car and Escape SUV.
But more often the peculiarities of certain markets mean that, to compete there you've got to cater to the local tastes.
Take Australia, for instance, which is like the "Land that Time Forgot" for cars. Thanks to relatively mild weather, many popular models there seem like updated versions of rear-wheel-drive cars we've hardly seen in the U.S. since the '70s.
Case in point, the Ute SS from GM's Holden division. Look familiar? Squint and you'll see a Chevrolet El Camino, the old car-with-a-truck-bed last sold in the 1980s.
There was some thought given to selling the Ute in the U.S. as a Pontiac, but that idea died along with the Pontiac division.
While the Avanti didn't save Studebaker in the 1960s, its design and life-saving technology lives on in current automobiles.
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