Source: Case File of Henry Ford, Committee on Science and the
Arts, 1928 Cresson Medal.
Cost and Production of Ford Vehicles, 1908-1924
In the early stages of their diffusion, automobiles were essentially
assembled by hand, which made them very expensive and affordable only
to the wealthy segment of the population. As the production efficiency
of the assembly line was improved by Ford, the cost of an automobile was substantially
reduced through a division of labor and economies of scale. When the Ford Model T was introduced in 1908, it cost about
$950 (nominal dollars) with only 10,000 units produced. By 1924, 2 million
units were produced at a cost of $300 each, making it one of the
most mass produced car in history with a total of 16.5 million
units. World War I had disruptive
impacts on car production, making resources temporarily more expensive.