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The demand for value

The car started as an expensive and rare contraption, especially if only being used for pleasure. However, today nearly everyone in the civilised world does or could own a car – even if just a rubbish one.

At first people needed to be considerably wealthy to own a car as the manufacturing was so involved that it made the costs too high for most to afford. However, famously, Henry Ford changed this by revolutionising mass production.

Ford Assembly Line 1913Ford was not the first to recognise the cost savings from streamlining production, but the way in which Ford purpose built assembly lines put his methods far beyond the other mass production manufacturers.

The efficiency of this production drove down the cost and made his Model T the most popular car of the time. In fact, by 1914 the Ford Model T had become so wide-spread that Ford produced more cars than all other manufacturers combined. By the time the 10 millionth Model T was produced, Fords accounted for half of all cars in the world.

The success of the production line, led to all mass manufacturers following, with only the smaller more specialist vehicles relaying on more traditional methods.

For the next 60 years or so cars continued to develop further and further with more involved electrics, mechanics and production methods; but the production line still remained the method of assembly.

However, at this point everyone was still very accepting of the frailties of the motorcar and cold start failures and breakdowns were not unexpected. This inherent unreliability was considered normal, until the world started to see a new wave of Japanese cars entering the market in the late 60s with even more sophisticated manufacturing processes, greatly improving the reliability of their cars.

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