The other firm that lunched a small car was Willys (pronounced will-iss, where the Willys "y" is sounded like the "i" in the English word "it"). Willys had been making cars since 1908 and was a major firm in the 1920s. But the company was hit hard by the Great Depression of the 1930s and resorted to making small cars to survive. During World War 2, Willys was a major builder of Jeeps, and the company continued making civilianized Jeeps after the war. But management caught the small car disease and introduced the Aero sedan for the 1952 model year.
The Aero was a nice little car with a peppy engine and above-average small-car design, the latter by experienced stylist Phil Wright. Unfortunately, the Big Three analysts were right: For nearly the same amount of money a buyer could get a standard size Ford, Chevrolet or other low-priced car. And lower income prospects could find inexpensive, larger used cars with greater appeal. Aeros were manufactured for four model years in the United States, with production eventually shifted to Brazil for that market.
The little tail fin added interest and balance to what otherwise was a simple design. Note the low hood, a fashionable feature introduced that same model year on standard Nash's and the entire Ford Motor Company line.
Styling was essentially unchanged for 1953.
The '54 line introduced "Frenched" headlamp bezels and one-piece windshields and backlights.
The ultimate American Aeros got a redesigned grille and a fancy two-color paint scheme typical of the time.