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The 1955 Dodge La Femme

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May 7, 2007

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May 8, 2007 It’s the earliest example of automotive marketing to women we have seen (correspondence here please) – it’s the 1955 Dodge La Femme complete with a Sapphire White and Heather Rose color scheme. Half a century later, women buy half of all new cars, yet it was a very bold and ultimately unsuccessful (only 2500 were made) marketing initiative aimed at was thought to be a promising new niche market. The La Femme was basically a Dodge Custom Royal Lancer with a feminine paint palette and a special gold “La Femme” script on the fenders. The vehicle’s interior was graced with special tapestry upholstery bearing pink rosebuds on a pale pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. A rectangular purse matching the car’s interior was a standard La Femme feature, stowed in a special compartment built into the back of the passenger seat. Each purse came complete with matching compact lipstick and cigarette cases, a lighter and purse. Also standard was a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella in the rosebud pattern that was stored in a compartment behind the driver’s seat. Hey, this would sell in droves today!!

The La Femme was a landmark automobile as it signified the first dawning of a new way catalysed by WW2 when women became a significant part of the workforce, and post-war prosperity enabled the one-car-family to become a two-car-family.

A perfectly restored example of the La Femme will be exhibited this coming weekend (Mothers Day) at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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