Young Turk at Ford
Iacocca began his meteoric rise to the top of Ford in 1956 when he introduced the “56 for ’56” campaign. With a 20 percent down payment, customers could purchase a 1956 model Ford for $56 per month for three years.
The marketing concept was a success, and by 1960 Iacocca was elected a vice president and chosen general manager of the Ford Division. He was just 36 at the time and the youngest person ever to oversee the giant Ford Division. Only Henry Ford II, it was often said, advanced faster through the ranks at Ford.
Iacocca later described his years heading the Ford Division as one of the happiest periods of his career.
He was eager to develop a sporty, moderately priced vehicle to tap into the youth-oriented culture that was beginning to flourish after the somnolent 1950s. The Baby Boomers were moving into prime car-buying age.
When the Edsel was dropped in 1960 after just its third model year, and $250 million in losses, many Ford officials, notably…