While marketing has come along way to reach the detailed point it has today, targeted marketing existed in the 50s too. The Ford Model T famously only available in black was released in 1908 and 43 years later things were drastically different. In 1955 Dodge released the first gender-specific car, the Dodge La Femme.
In the 1950s Dodge did not have the data analytics and artificial intelligence tools at their disposal that they do now. There was no multi-dimensional customer survey that would reveal the demand that lay unserved in the market. Instead, if Dodge had an idea and thought it was a good one, they did it, and results would follow. This was the case with the Dodge La Femme. In 1954 Dodge had some his and her car shows and they received a lot of encouragement for a car specifically made for the American woman.
The La Femme was born. A beautiful two-tone car with rosebud pink and ivory white. The interior was built to match with rosebud upholstery. The feminine touches did not stop there. The car also came with a purse that had a powder compact, a lipstick case, and cigarette lighter included, all designed by Evans of Chicago, all rosebud pink.
Stowed away in the back was a raincoat, rain hat, and an umbrella, all in one color, you guessed it, rosebud pink. The La Femme model was really just a special edition of the Dodge Custom Royal Lancer, it cost $143 to upgrade to the La Femme version and receive the new paint job, interior and contents. Even by 1950s standards, that was not a lot of money for such significant alterations.
Yet sales were not incredible. Between 1955 and 1956 the car sold 2,500 times. After 1956 production was halted due to lack of demand. How anyone didn’t want such a beautiful car is a mystery. Whether women were insulted by the repeated pink in every pocket of the car or took it that they were being segregated away from more ‘manly’ cars is unknown. Some also suggest it was just not marketed properly. All that existed was one write up in a newspaper article and a three-page flyer. Many felt that for the car to have a chance it needed to be shown properly.
In any case, we would love to get our hands on one today. Whether you are a man or woman the classy pink and white exterior would look great, although the name La Femme may be less desirable for male drivers. A car like this would be hard to find today though, with only 60 known models still in existence.