The History of Ford Motor Company
Ford has done an amazing job of making changes and adapting over multiple generations
Updated September 1, 2018
The is a staple of American automotive manufacturing. The company was founded in June of 1903 when owner Henry Ford based operations in Dearborn Michigan. This was not Henry Ford’s first introduction into the automotive industry as he had previously had ties to the Detroit automobile company that would be reorganized into the Henry Ford Company only to be bought by Henry Leland in 1902 to then be renamed once again to Cadillac. Ford Motor Company would be incorporated in 1903 with a total of 12 investors making up 1000 shares for the entire company. The company started production with the Ford Model A and when the vehicle went up for sale the company had a total of $223 in the Ford bank account. The entire company rested on the success of the Model A, Ford and with its success Ford would go on to produce a total of 1750 vehicles through 1903-1904 with a starting price of $750. Vehicles such as the Model K and Model S would follow with limited success.
Ford would introduce their next model known as the Model T that started out being manufactured in a rented facility with parts that were made to order. In the first year of manufacturing of the Model T, 18,000 vehicles were delivered. With rising sales numbers the Ford Motor Company was in need to streamline its production process therefore creating the first assembly line for manufacturing. The Model T would become one of the most iconic vehicles and be produced each year by the Ford Motor Company until 1927. Over those years Ford had produced nearly 15.5 million Model T vehicles making the company one of the most successful auto manufacturers in the world.
In 1919 Henry Ford would turn the company over to his son Edsel who oversaw the continued production of the Model T. Sales of the vehicle were still strong but competitors such as General Motors and Chrysler would be offering customers newer design vehicles that offered more features therefore causing Ford to slowly lose part of its stake in auto manufacturing sales. In order to diversify Ford’s vehicle lineup throughout the company, Ford purchased the bankrupted Lincoln motor company. The Lincoln vehicles were to be Ford’s line of luxury vehicles. The Lincoln vehicles would utilize Ford components yet the bodies of the vehicles would be design by custom coach builders.
In 1932 Ford would introduce their first V-8 engine used in their Model Y in hopes to regain fledgling sales but in 1933 Ford would drop to the third-largest auto manufacturer behind Chrysler. The the company was now in third they still managed to build their 25-millionth vehicle by 1937. In 1941 Ford Motor Company would start production of military hardware in order to help out the war effort. It was also in this time that Ford had facilities in Germany and would lead to scrutiny as Henry Ford was noted to be in close collaboration with the German government. The collaboration with the German government would fall through during the outbreak of the Second World War as the Ford Motor Company plants would work to produce B-24 bombers and Jeeps. Ford would also build aeronautical engines for British fighters and bombers in its Manchester England facility.
In 1943 Edsel Ford would lose his battle with stomach cancer receiving leaving the now elderly Henry Ford to run the company. This proved to be a liability for the company so much that Henry Ford’s family had to work in order to let Henry Ford relieve his position with Ford Motor Company thereby passing it to his grandson Henry Ford II. In the years that followed Henry Ford II was placed with turning around the company that was losing as much as $9 million a month. In 1946 the Ford Motor Company hired its who had been the head of the aviation company Bendix. It was in 1948 the Ford would introduce its first postwar vehicle for sale which was to be produced in it American and Australia facilities. The sales of Ford vehicles would rise at a rate that would place Ford Motor Company in second place over the Chrysler Group.
In 1954 Ford would introduce the iconic Thunderbird which would draw in much attention to the company. In 1956 Ford would offer up common stocks, 10.2 million shares are sold the first day. This amount of stocks being sold would represent a 22% stake in the company. In 1960 Ford would introduce the Falcon and in 1964 the Mustang was introduced with resounding success leading the Ford Motor Company to establish its European division. Ford was on track as sales were solid and the company was reaching out to international territory then came the 1970’s.
The beginning of the 1970s proved to be profitable times for Ford. There were mishaps such as safety and quality concerns over the Ford Pinto they would reflect negatively on the company. It was a in the year 1973 when Ford reached its highest production numbers throughout its company history as it produced 2.3 5 million vehicles and started its Asia division. Through several economic perils as well as the oil crisis caused many issues with American auto manufacturers and would cause them to downsize their vehicles for the sake of efficiency. It was in 1979 that Ford acquired a 75% stake in the Mazda Company. Mazda at the time had the ability to produce more efficient vehicles.
The 1980s proved to be successful years for the Ford Motor Company as they would introduce several vehicles around the world. Notably the 1985 Ford Taurus and Aerostar were deemed radical by design yet went on to be widely accepted by the general public. In 1988 the Ford Motor Company’s worldwide earnings reached an all-time record for the auto industry at $5.3 billion. It was around the same time Ford acquired Aston Martin and Jaguar. During the 1990s the Ford Motor Company would introduce such popular vehicles such as the Explorer. In the years to come Ford would also begin selling vehicles in China where it would establish over 150 dealerships by 2005. Ford would continue through the 90s as well as the 2000s with its company focusing on engineering. It was in 2007 when the Ford Motor Company found itself needing to reorganize its holdings in companies such as Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar. These companies were sold off in 2007 and 2008 as well as Ford’s holdings in Volvo and 2010.
Since then we’ve seen the Ford Motor Company under the helm of Alan Mulally who previously Executive Vice President of Boeing restructured the company and consolidated in order to focus on vehicles that made up the majority of Ford sales globally. Today we see Ford producing vehicles that are sold worldwide. The worldwide and continually sales over 2 million vehicles just in the American market annually. The history of Ford is skipped over by many but should never be forgotten.