USA 1908-1927: Ford Model T makes the automobile popular
A site like BestSellingCars would not exist were it not for the Ford Model T. Tin Lizzie, as it was fondly known, is the first car in the automobile history to be mass-produced, making the automobile affordable and defining the direction of the automobile industry as we know it today.
The Model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile became popular. It’s the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American and to the world. Streamlined production techniques meant the car could be produced 8 times faster than any other car – 93 minutes in 1914 – all the while using less manpower.
At launch in 1908 it was twice cheaper than any other car, at $850 (equivalent to $20,700 today). In 1913, the price dropped to $550 ($12,200 today), and $260 in 1924 ($2,900 today) because of increasing efficiencies of assembly line technique and volume.
Its success defied reason even by today’s standards. Starting slow (10,660 units in 1909), production took off in 1916 at 501,462 units before literally exploding and passing the million annual units in 1922 at 1,301,067…
1923 was the Model T’s best year and is still today the highest annual production figure ever achieved by a single model with 2,011,125 units produced in a single year! That’s more than twice nowadays’ Toyota Corolla figure in a good year… By then Ford was churning out Model T’s at a rate of up to 10,000 cars a day!
The two following years weren’t too bad either with 1,922,048 units produced in 1924 and 1,911,706 units produced in 1925…
The Ford Model T was also the first car to be built by various countries simultaneously, at one stage assembled in the US, Canada, England, Germany, Argentina, Australia, France, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. The first global car indeed…
By the end of its life on 26 May 1927, 15 million units of the Model T had been produced, a figure only later eclipsed by the VW Beetle. More info on the Ford Model T here.
For yearly production figures see below.