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.