In 1907, 255 automakers sold about 43,000 cars in the United States. The average per automaker comes to about 170 cars per manufacturer.
Ford Motor Company by 1907 becomes the largest automaker in the world (cars sold), however this fire had to hurt. A total of 55 Fords are reported destroyed. New cars destroyed are ten Model Ks and twenty Runabouts. The used or previous year models add another 25 cars lost.
February 4, 1907:
To add insult to injury, this April 1 1907 article lists the total number of cars destroyed, and adds that the railroad is charging Ford Motor Company full car transport price to haul the salvage iron back to Detroit. The train is on a siding awaiting the outcome of the dispute between Ford and the railroad.
All in all, I would think this would have been a crippling event for most manufacturers. As things worked out, Ford still had their best year ever. This also occurred in a recession year.
Well Rob, I for one did not know that this fire had occurred. Thanks for posting it - most interesting.
If the cars were factory demonstrators or cars to take to shows would they have removed or erased them from the production record or sales record counts?
Would they have readjusted production/sales records after the fire?
If Ford was using them for advertising at shows did he sell them at the show or pack them up and move them to the next show?
Since it was a Ford branch, I assume Ford Motor Company "ate" the loss. The article mentions the cars were held for retail and wholesale, and it appears the Ford operated was that each branch manager made arrangements with their network or dealers as to commissions and other arrangements. (in Ford board minutes, Ford branches are given 5% commission on all sales, along with the 20% discount given to most Ford dealers, however the commission numbers changed over time).
I don't know how Ford Mo Co would have handled the loss accounting wise. Did they apply the 'loss" to all cars of that model, or was there another place in the Loss/Gain reports (we have those for 1906-1909) where things like this would be written off?
I think the goal was to get quite a few cars to the shows because orders were booked and sales made during the events. I've seen accounts where entire blocks outside shows are taken up by demonstrator cars, waiting to give prospects demonstrations after they look at cars in the show.
I have another fire story where I believe 3 Model Ks were destroyed at a dealership, and I don't know how Ford Motor Company would have handled that either. It would be quite a hit on a dealership to have to pay for three lost Model Ks.
Three firemen were also killed in the fire mentioned above. Also, another fire destroys a K in CA below that: