Car Mass Production History, Auto History Firsts, Auto History Beginnings
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The first Car Mass Production was debuted by Ransom E. Olds at his
Oldsmobile factory in 1902. This concept was then greatly expanded by
Henry Ford, beginning in 1914.
The Car Mass Production History started with large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable automobiles for general public.
Ransom E. Olds - founder of the Oldsmobile factory in 1902.
As a result, Ford's Cars came off the line in three minute intervals, much
faster than previous methods, increasing production by seven to one (requiring 12.5
man-hours before, 1 hour 33 minutes after), while using less manpower.
It was so successful, paint became a bottleneck. Only Japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1914, until fast-drying Durco lacquer was developed in 1926. In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.
Ford Model T, 1927, regarded as the first affordable automobile.
Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific
location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of
injury. The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "Fordism," and
was copied by most major industries.
The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the take off of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods.
Ford at one point considered suing other car companies because they used the assembly line in their production, but decided against, realizing it was essential to creation and expansion of the industry as a whole.
In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide. Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany 1925; in 1921, Citroen was the first native European manufacturer to adopt it. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke; by 1930, 250 companies which had not had disappeared.
Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers of automobiles competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering , for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910-1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes.
Since the 1920s, nearly all cars had been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans had often heavily influenced automobile design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, so buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved.
Reflecting the rapid pace of change, makes shared parts with one another so larger
production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in
the 1930s, LaSalles, sold by Cadillac, used cheaper mechanical parts made by Oldsmobile;
in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; by the
1990s, corporate drive trains and shared platforms (with interchangeable brakes,
suspension, and other parts) were common.
Even so, only major makers could afford high costs, and even companies with decades of production, such as Apperson, Cole, Dorris, Haynes, or Premier, could not manage: of some two hundred car-makers in existence in 1920, only 43 survived in 1930, and with the Great Depression, by 1940, only 17 of those were left.
In Europe, much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley
in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practice
of vertical integration, buying Hotchkiss (engines), Wrigley (gearboxes), and Osberton
(radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris
had 41% of total British car production.
Most British small-car assemblers, from Autocrat to Meteorite to Seabrook, to name only three, had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and the cheap cars in reply, Renault's 10CV and Peugeot's 5CV, they produced 550000 cars in 1925, and Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete. Germany's first mass-manufactured automobile, the Opel 4PS Laubfrosch (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market.
Some tips on how to avoid business failure:
Don't underestimate the capital you need to start up the business.
Understand and keep control of your finances - income earned is not the same as
cash in hand.
More volume does not automatically mean more profit - you need to get your pricing
- Make sure you have good software for your business, software that provides you with a good reporting picture of all aspects of your business operations.
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