At what point did Ford decide to continue Model T production year after year?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: At what point did Ford decide to continue Model T production year after year?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 12:31 pm:

Ford Motor Company built eight production models (not counting prototypes and cars that didn't make it to standard production). The model years for each (if memory serves me correctly):

Model A 1903-1904
Model C 1904-1905
Model B 1905
Model F 1905-1906
Models K and N 1906-1908
Model K Roadster 1907-1908
Model R 1907
Model S 1907-1908
Model S Roadster 1908

I'm calling the K Roadster another model. Like the S Roadster, it has a different body from it's predecessor, the K touring. As with the later S Roadster, the K 6-40 added a cowl, larger tires/wheels, and different seating arrangement. Also, the K roadster had different springs, steering column and fenders.

With a history of changing models every two to three years, how did Henry Ford know, or decide, to continue the Model T for years and years?

This 1909 article says Ford will continue on with the Model T for the next two or three years. Do you think Henry Ford knew he would continue the T for years to come? Was it a year by year decision.

It seems like quite a change of philosophy for the company to stick with one model after changing so frequently right up to the T:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Owens on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 12:39 pm:

Rob, I think that Henry always wanted a small cheap car for the masses. The "T" took off with sales and continued to grow. It was good business to keep selling what was a BIG seller. And as he was getting older it was easier to stay with the T. Falling behind the other car makers forced him to make the change. I think he would have stayed with the T if he could have. Scott


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Paul O'Neil, Fullerton, CA, USA on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 01:01 pm:

Oh, that IS interesting! At some point Ford must have decided the T was as good a car as would ever be needed.

It is notable that Ford almost sounds like a salesman in this quote. He talks about catching the popular fancy, not words I normally think of in connection with Ford.

Vintage Paul


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Leck - Ohio on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 02:25 pm:

Rob, if this excerpt from My Life and Work Chapter III, serves as any explanation, it seems Henry Ford might have had in mind all along that focusing on one model was the path to success. But until he gained more and more control over the direction of the company and creating a universal product, his theory didn’t have a chance to play out.

“Ask a hundred people how they want a particular article made. About eighty will not know; they will leave it to you. Fifteen will think that they must say something, while five will really have preferences and reasons. The ninety-five, made up of those who do not know and admit it and the fifteen who do not know but do not admit it, constitute the real market for any product. The five who want something special may or may not be able to pay the price for special work. If they have the price, they can get the work, but they constitute a special and limited market. Of the ninety-five perhaps ten or fifteen will pay a price for quality. Of those remaining, a number will buy solely on price and without regard to quality. Their numbers are thinning with each day. Buyers are learning how to buy. The majority will consider quality and buy the biggest dollar's worth of quality. If, therefore, you discover what will give this 95 per cent. of people the best all-round service and then arrange to manufacture at the very highest quality and sell at the very lowest price, you will be meeting a demand which is so large that it may be called universal."

As many here may be aware, Ford was almost maniacal about product manufacturing finding success in the service it provides humanity. One could see how once he was satisfied with the Model T in its service (not necessarily in its form, because he was always refining the object in the name of manufacturing efficiency) that the car deemed “universal” would never be out of style and the most profitable to manufacture. Probably what he wasn’t counting on was how humanity requires better and better service. Roads get better, we want to go faster. We can go faster, why live in the city if the drive to work is only 30 minutes from the country…etc. Automobiles then had to change to accommodate the new service requirements that the Model T fell short on providing.

That’s my thinking anyway. Thanks for bringing this subject to light!

John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 02:40 pm:

I think the success of the T was one thing. Another was the introductions of the assembly line and the massive Highland Park plant. At this point, Ford had a massive amount of money invested in tooling and machinery. He would not have wanted or needed big changes. The long shutdown before the Model A came seems to prove that major changes were a bad thing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas Mullin on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 02:44 pm:

Dave,

I always thought much of the long shutdown between the Model T and the second Model A was because it was not a planned shutdown, but a spur of the moment decision. The new model was not ready yet designed and the new factory was not ready. Anyone know more on this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Fischer - Arroyo Grande, CA on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 04:31 pm:

Another way of looking at Rob's question is: Why did Ford give new names to cars as they evolved in the first few years, and then stop giving new names even though the cars continued to evolve ?

I realize that the engine and transmission remained pretty much the same throughout T production, but when you compare a 1909 to a 1927, it sure seems like Ford could have justified a few new names along the way.

Dick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 05:52 pm:

Yes Thomas, it's like you said. I'm just saying Ford had way too much into the T and tooling to consider any change until the sales drop caught them off guard. I believe Henry also declared the Model T as "The most perfect car in the world" and "The only thing wrong with the Model T is that we cannot make enough of them".

(Message edited by 404 not found on January 20, 2015)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 06:38 pm:

He changed models/names until he could do what he wanted and when that turned into a money maker he stayed with it. Because he could. It was all up to him period. Trying to explain not changing in the face of falling sales? Impossible. It was in the guy's mind and we'll never know. The only 2 things I can actually attribute to HF as far as sayings go are: 1 "Your fired" and 2: "They'll buy what I sell them". He was a character all right. Today the medicos would have a name for it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George_Cherry Hill NJ on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 07:16 pm:

Suppose, just suppose, that for 1925 that Ford had a new body style closer to what we know of the improved car yet with a raked upward roof line(like the later "A" sedans)...a new front appearance with better stylized lights and NO visual signs of a radiator...longitudinal rear springs...a move to 120" wheelbase...possibly 34 x 4.5 inch fronts, 34 x 5 inch rears...a front axle with road clearance of maybe 9" above the ground...a distributor type ignition...a spare mounted in a front fender well, and...and...

an 8 cylinder engine!

Would conventional modern thinkers then feel that Ford could have staved off competition and ruled supreme without needing to be 'knee jerk' in both the improved car intro and the way too rapid change to the "A"?

Some know how reality this almost was, others will be curious to know the above WAS the concept car from 1923 on at Ford Motor Company and that the 8 cylinder...dubbed X-8 or "X" Model in various correspondences actually made it to prototype...wouldn't run reliable as late as January 1926...and 'someone' at FoMoCo STILL felt that success was right around the corner but nothing names the 'someone'? {implied Henry}

I know, folks think I'm daft...but if someone is really curious to know how real this actually came to almost being...the answer is in a copy of a letter in the archives to Henry from Kanzler, and there is a drawing that has floated around for years as being the "X" body concept drawing...and a reported journal somewhere of a foreman/supervisor who was responsible for the X-8 testing. The story gets no mileage or further credibility as the X-8 motor apparently never worked and someone finally admitted it, and that same someone apparently rejected a 6-cylinder as the replacement, then you have what followed that killed the T and launched the A...and was white-washed in the history of FoMoCo because of the failure


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 08:07 pm:

So the X engine did not work,so what Many did not survive that time period!! The Model A was a very good car and at a good price! Way to many ten's of thousands survive to tell!! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 08:30 pm:

Not looking towards the X. Too radical. The technology to build the A as it finally appeared was in place for years and was ignored even in the face of falling T sales. That's what amazes me. Falling sales and his refusal to change in the face of it. Exactly what could have been going through his mind?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 08:43 pm:

Then again falling sales isn't exactly losing money is it? And he was the Boss.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 12:33 am:

This January 1927 article quotes Henry Ford regarding the Model K and the future of the Model T. He doesn't sound too interested in changing models yet.....




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 08:34 am:

And then in 1932 the Ford V 8!! I wonder what Henry said then?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Barker, Somerset, England on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 08:45 am:

He probably said -
"I told you we wouldn't make a six".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 10:11 am:

As we know now this was the end of the T line. Could this ad just be hype to keep sales going?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 10:33 am:

The reason for the V8 instead of a straight eight, Henry said, "It's not an eight, it's two fours".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Darel J. Leipold on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:33 am:

Ford made and sold a six after WWII. My brother bought one new in 1950.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:35 am:

Charlie,
After reading it again, Ford seems to be adamant about sticking with a four cylinder, "with the usual improvements." Maybe this was intended to indicate Ford would stay with a four, although as we know, the Model A was just around the corner?
Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:35 am:

I think Ford was forced into building sixes during WW-II because of gov't specs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Owens on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:37 am:

Darel, You could have the six in 1947. Scott


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