Sometimes, all it takes to change the world – or a business – is a vision.
In 1929, Ford Motor Company was losing sales to Chevrolet, which had introduced a six-cylinder engine – much more powerful than the four-cylinders powering Model T and Model A cars. Henry Ford didn’t like six-cylinders, because the crankshafts were long and tended to break. And Ford believed that if he matched Chevy’s six-cylinder engine, Ford Motor Co. would lose its place as the industry leader. So Henry Ford decided to produce a new V-8 engine.
There were V-8 engines already on the market; Cadillacs had them, but these cars were built for the wealthy. What Ford wanted was a powerful engine for the masses – and that meant his V-8 had to be affordable. Cadillac used engines that were cast in two or three pieces and then bolted together. Ford decided that an engine cast in one piece would save production costs, and that’s what he told his engineers to design.
Except experts told him that what he wanted was impossible.
Ford’s reaction? He moved his engineering team out of Ford Motor Co.’s engineering lab in Dearborn, MI, into Thomas Edison’s small former workshop in Greenfield Village. Month after month, every single one of his engineers told Ford that what he wanted couldn’t be done. And month after month, Ford told them, “Produce it anyway.”
Finally, the team was successful. In March 1932, production finally began on the Model 18: Ford’s first V-8 powered car. The 1932 Ford Model 18 cost between $460 and $600; it’s closest price competitor, the 1932 LaSalle, started at $2,395 – almost four times as much. People crowded into dealerships to see the powerful cars that were now affordable for ‘every man,’ according to Ford.
The launch created an incredible public sensation – and secured Ford Motor Company’s future. By 1934, all Ford vehicles had the powerful V-8 engine.
Just like Henry Ford, a leader with a clear vision of where you want to take your organization can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. If you have a vision of where you want to go, we can help you align that vision with your branding + marketing — paving the way for your success.
Do you know a business owner whose steadfast belief in a vision has accomplished the “impossible”? Share their story below.