I am surprised that they didn't start off with DC-9s.
The DC-9 was an incredibly popular airframe at the end of the 1960s and the early 1970s. Its problem was that too
popular. MDD didn't set up their operations to build as many aircraft as there was demand for. What really sucks is that their marketing department predicted almost exactly
the demand as it would be from 1965-1980 (approx 2000 airframes). Douglas predicted it would sell 1000 copies of the DC-9 between 1965 and 1975.
Anyway, Douglas' Operations/Manufacturing basically cut the estimates in half, with 1000 airframes by 1980 and 500 DC-9s being sold by 1975. Accounting got ahold of the numbers and cut them in half again.
So by the time Douglas started setting up to build the DC-9, they set themselves up to build about 350 airframes between introduction in 1963 and 1980, rather than the 1200 they actually might have ended up selling. As a result, they couldn't deliver aircraft fast enough and everything went all to hell, from sales to manufacturing to customer satisfaction. They couldn't get engines, avionics, and various other parts fast enough, and as a result orders were badly delayed.
There's a great section about this in a book I read once, I think it was Eagle
by R. Serling, but I could be wrong.
might have chosen the DC-9, if they hadn't gone looking for aircraft at the absolute height of all these problems (which also affected DC-8 and DC-10 sales, it is worth mentioning - especially DC-8s since they used similar engine types). When WN
looked at all the problems at Douglas (by then McDonnelDouglas - the merger was the only thing that could save the company), they realized that Boeing was their only real option.
Once again, another prime example of not listening to Marketing hurting the company.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.