Business: Vroom, Baby!

Ford courts the ladies

Detroit has a long tradition of condescending to women. Advertising and even the cars themselves are often designed to be strong statements of masculinity. When automakers bothered with women at all, they usually came up with gimmicks like the "La Femme" Dodge with parasols to match the seat covers.

Now the Ford Motor Co. has suddenly discovered that women have enormous influence in the auto marketplace. According to company research, women last year bought 39% of all new cars sold in the U.S. Writes the awed company in a marketing brief just sent to dealers: "The same dainty little...

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