The Fog of War – Lesson #6: Get the data

McNamara joined Ford as an executive in 1946.  Ford did not have a market research organization when he joined, so he established one.  First, he tasked market research to determine who was buying the Volkswagon.  The buyers of these vehicles were clearly able to afford more and it occurred to McNamara that there was a segment of the market not being addressed by US auto manufacturers.  Ford introduced the Falcon as a more economical car which was highly profitable to Ford.
Next, McNamara tasked the market research group to obtain data and conduct analysis on accidents.  It was determined that the primary causes for accidents were human error and mechanical failure.  Cornell Aeronautical Labs advised Ford that the primary problem was packaging.  Anecdotally, they suggested that eggs are protected from breakage when placed on the kitchen counter due to intelligent packaging.  Ford determined that if they could package people in cars as intelligently as eggs were packaged they could save lives.  In the 1956 model, Ford introduced seatbelts which, ultimately, revolutionized automobile safety.