Diversification - Henry Ford

Credited with bringing the motorcar to the masses, American industrialist Henry Ford changed manufacturing forever with the introduction of his Model T.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Credited with bringing the motorcar to the masses, American industrialist Henry Ford changed manufacturing forever with the introduction of his Model T in 1908. Priced at $850, his no-frills automobile undercut its rivals with the innovative use of mass-production techniques. 'People can have the Model T in any colour,' said Ford, 'so long as it's black.' The one-size-fits-all approach suited his production line process, where tasks were delineated and cars, roped together, passed at a steady pace through the factory. By 1919, the Ford Motor Co had cornered 57% of the market, and by 1924, 10 million Model Ts had been made. But Ford's failure to offer customers variety was the flaw in his strategy. Rivals offered the extras that car buyers wanted - other colours, for example - yet Ford refused to diversify, convinced that he knew what customers wanted. He was wrong, and they voted with their feet. By the time Ford introduced its next model in 1927, it had lost the initiative to General Motors.

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