Robert McNamara played a major role in the development of the early Ford Falcons. He was promoted to the Ford Motor Company President position on November 10, 1960. At the same time this change took place, John Kennedy was elected as the new President of the United States.
A few days after Kennedy was elected, a few of his aides met with McNamara to determine if he was interested in a Cabinet position with the Kennedy Administration. McNamara was offered the position of the Secretary of Treasury, but he turned it down. Kennedy then offered McNamara the position of the Secretary of Defense which he accepted.
After McNamara departed Ford, his beloved Falcon sold an astounding 417,000 units in its first year of 1960. This was one of the most successful model introductions in automobile history. Lee Iacocca admired the sales success of the Ford Falcon, but he was not a lover of the Falcon’s styling. He also admired the Falcon for its ability to compete with small imports, and the Corvair and Valiant models offered by US counterparts.
Lee thought the Falcon was too utilitarian and Ford did not make enough money from selling low-optioned Falcons. After McNamara left Ford, Iacocca was instrumental in bringing more highly optioned Falcons to market in 1962-1965. Iacocca also saved Ford a ton of money by basing the Mustang on the Falcon chassis and building a new “greenhouse”. Lee Iacocca was the father of the Mustang, and Robert McNamara was the father of the Falcon. Let’s see, sounds like the Falcon is “Father” to the Mustang.
It’s interesting to ponder what the future of the Falcon would have been if McNamara remained at Ford.
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