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Volti Ch. 3 Discussion Questions

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  1. Mass production, while not invented by Henry Ford, was improved using the assembly line associated with Fordism. How did this innovation help propel Ford Motor Company to the forefront of American automobile manufacturing?
  2.   From its inception, General Motors relied on an entirely different method of doing business. How did General Motors’ acquisition of existing auto companies allow it to produce  a car “for every purse and purpose”?
  3. European automakers did not benefit from the same economies of scale that allowed Ford to constantly slash prices and expand automobile ownership. Why were European automakers, at least before World War II, unable to replicate Ford’s success, thus ceding their dominant position in the market to American firms?

One Comment

  1. Thanks!

    We covered many aspects of this … economies of scale, product differentiation, the durable good dilemma and model changes. Now GM was able to implement assembly line production, and went further than Ford with the all-steel body which allowed for paint ovens and a big reduction in the amount of time it took to produce a finished vehicle.

    Meanwhile, European producers faced the problem that they were European, facing smaller domestic markets than in the US thanks to the protection of national champions, wittingly or otherwise (as a byproduct of generally high tariffs).

    May 7, 2016

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