As car buyers around the world become savvier, carmakers can no longer afford to build a single car for the entire globe. At the two extremes, a customer in a Western country wouldn’t seek the same specifications and features that someone in an emerging market would even though they could be buying the same car. A number of carmakers have realized this and have set about creating new global design centers whose job it is to customize and tailor a single model for different markets.

One of the most active carmakers is Ford, whose new Fiesta hatch is the first of a new generation of global models that will feature unique styling and features for the different markets it’s sold in.

Volkswagen too is wary of the developing trend. Speaking with the Financial Times, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn told reporters that the days of building one car for the whole world were “dead and buried”. To help boost sales, VW is developing unique models for major centers like North America, China and India and is expected to launch 20 new models within the next three years.

“In the coming years, we will make the VW group the world’s most international carmaker. The days of a ‘world car’ are dead and buried. Our customers in China or India expect us, as a global player, to offer entirely different solutions than we do in the US or western Europe,” Winterkorn explained.

Pictured above is VW’s up! concept, whose production version will eventually replace the Lupo as VW’s new entry-level model. Officials presented a number of different versions of the car at recent motor shows, reflecting the trend to develop unique versions of a single model instead of a single world car.

VW Space up! concept

2009 Ford Fiesta