In the 1960's, import substitution industrialization was all the rage. Developing countries were trying to develop their own products for their domestic market. Watch these two videos by Ha-Joon Chang for why this is a good idea.
It seems Mexico had a nationalized auto company called VAM, or Vehiculos Automotores Mexicanos. This is very clever because “vam” is close to the Spanish word for “to go.” (Contrast with the Chevy Nova, which translates into Spanish as “doesn't go.” While this isn't true, why let “facts” get in the way of a good story?)
VAM started in 1963 as a venture between the Mexican government and AMC. (This involved nationalizing Willys Mexicana, which had been producing Jeeps and other AMC designs since 1946.)* Mexican law required them to source at least 50% of their parts locally. This is because they were communists who hated the free market. Most of their cars were AMC designs that were modified to work with lower octane fuels, and other Mexican conditions.
By 1982, a recession in Mexico and a devalued peso led to the company being sold to nationalized French company Renault (who had a relationship with AMC) for negative 200 million dollars. That's right: the Mexican government paid Renault 200 million to take VAM off their hands. Renault, of course, shut down VAM. (AMC itself was bought by Chrysler in 1987, who discontinued the brand, although certain models, such as the Jeep, continued being produced by Chrysler.)
So if you ever seen an AMC Gremlin with Mexican plates running on low octane fuel, give a salute to VAM.
Also, check this link for some VAM magazine ads from the '70s.
All factual information on VAM courtesy of Wikipedia.
*This added after rousing the anger of the BaadAssGremlins forum.