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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: July 2010



The world's automobile industry was on the verge of significant change at the start of the twenty-first century. Automobile industries, typically in developed nations, accounted for 10 percent or more of each nation's gross national product (GNP), and the industry as a whole marked its 100th anniversary in 1985. Over the years, the global automobile industry has experienced perpetual change.

Although the automobile was invented in Europe, mass production as the basis for mass marketing was developed and established in the United States. Everyone would agree that the Ford System of mass production was the influence behind the beginning of mass marketing. The Ford System, initiated by the emergence of the Ford Model T in 1908, was established by 1913. It later became the fundamental paradigm for production systems in the US automobile industry and was then transferred to advanced countries, including those in Europe, Japan, and other Asian nations, and adapted into its current state. In the US, mass production inherited from the Ford System was followed by a more marketing-oriented paradigm shift, from the simple mass production system limited to manufacturing a single model like the Model T to the full-line mass production system created by A. P. Sloan of GM, which responds better to a mature market. Some regard it as the “coexistence of Fordism and Sloanism.” The US automobile industry developed under these two paradigms.

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