I recently wondered whether there could be a single make and model of car that could traverse the blue spinning rock we call earth. One that would climb the Andes, cross the Sahara and cart shopping bags home from the local mall with equal ease. As it turns out there are such vehicles, but they are often times handmade RVs sculpted out of the carcasses of old Winnebagos, and far more expensive for the normal consumer looking for a grocery getter can afford. As I grew to learn, there are many brands of vehicles made by automobile makers that aim to suit all markets across the world. These “global vehicles” are often built on the same chassis as other cars we grow to love, but with simple rebranding.
Sure there are vehicles an individual could throw his sleeping bag into, pack a month worth of granola bars, shut the door and go. For example, one Ferrari 599 Fiorano was able to cross more than 16 countries, driving from Brazil to New York City in 2006. However, while the car only had some suspension work done and the skid plates updated, the vehicle was followed by a support group that would aid the car if it were to even have a sputter of doubt. This support group is not available to the common man unless he is driving round a track going left for an extended period of time. Not to mention, while the car was a shining example of what man can do with technology and an endless pocketbook, the car would be far too expensive for the normal consumer to afford.
The best-known brand worldwide, Ford, has been doing this very thing for a while now. Their Focus has been marked as one of the most popular cars in the world. However, if you were to take the vehicles from a few years back and compare the European counterparts to their yankee brethren, you would quickly notice the similarity between both cars usually ends right after the nameplate. It is only a few years back America received the Euro-spec version of the Focus, which was a better produced car than the American version. The Euro-version featured better exhaust, better software controlling engine functions, even more power; just everything about this car was better. It took Ford several years to bring the car stateside.
Another Ford-created car that started out to be a world car is the Ford Mondeo, derived from Latin to mean “world.” It was created to truly be a car that is good all over the world. Before you ask, the Ford Mondeo simply had its name changed when it hit American shores to the Fusion and the former Contour.
Another car that made its rounds as one of the most people friendly cars is the Volkswagen Beetle. Originally produced in 1938 as a car for the common people conceived by a not so great man, the car has since then become a pop-culture phenomenon. The car first featured an air-cooled rear engine and was designed to be one of the most easy and common cars to work on. In addition, the car named after its home town and not its looked, was remarkably cheap for consumers. Due to these facts the car has quickly become one of the most manufactured and longest running platform of any vehicle in the world.
But does simply having a world-wide recognition make a car truly global? The goal was to find one car that could truly cross the continents man and women have built to see the wonders of what all there is in the world. As it turns out, there is such a thing, its just already there on every continent, waiting for someone to start driving it.