Why Was the American Automobile Industry Based in Detroit?
The auto industry made an important impact on Detroit. At one time, the city was known as the Paris of the Midwest, but that image soon changed to manufacturing plants and grain silos. The auto industry also spurred a massive increase in industrial production. This, in turn, boosted the need for workers. In turn, many immigrants emigrated to the area to become autoworkers. Even though this trend has continued today, the automotive industry remains a significant part of the city’s economy.
Ford, for example, was one of the 125 auto companies headquartered in Detroit in the early twentieth century. The company was founded by Henry Ford, a restless innovator who created the modern assembly line. Ford introduced his first car, the Model T, in 1908, and it revolutionized the auto industry. Ford also announced that all industrial workers would receive a five-dollar wage. This increased pay for many workers in the industry, and eventually led to Detroit becoming one of the most diverse cities in the United States.
In the 1920s, the auto industry remained unstable. Many workers had to queue with other car manufacturers for scarce supplies. In addition, postwar inflation caused shortages of raw materials. Thousands of parts were required for a car to run. If a part went missing, thousands of workers would be laid off in Detroit. In short, Detroit became the center of the American automobile industry. However, it didn’t have to be this way.