The will to motorize: from utility to desire

Model T Ford and the Lincoln Highway.

“In 1927, for the first time since it introduced the Model T, Ford lost its sales lead to General Motors, never again to regain it.”

“Henry Ford came out with his “re-styled” Model A. The era of styling began.”

‘Actually, the problem the automobile industry was grappling with was on of maintaining a sales pace every year for a product that last for nearly a decade. Up to a point, a new invention like the automobile can show rising sales by simply meeting the demand for transportation. At the saturation point, however, the demand becomes less and less responsive to price reduction (The Model T had gone as low as $290) and functional improvement. A satiety threshold sets in that is similar to the limits which govern the consumer demand for food. But an emotional demand can be exploited for a much higher curve on the sales chart. There has never been established a human quota for the “status, power, fun, glamour, and freedom.” Thus the second stage in the evolution of a consumer product is reached: the time for catering to buyer’s wants instead of simply to their needs.”

Unsafe at any Speed, Ralph Nader, 1965, pp. 174-75

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