Why Buy a Ford?Buying Guides • Advice • Reviews
The Ford Motor Company is more than an America automaker. It is the institution which set the standard for producing quality automobiles. Founded by Henry Ford on June 16, 1903 in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford Motors would evolve into one of the most profitable companies in the world and has been in family control for over 110 years.
After his initial start in the automobile manufacturing business floundered, Ford reorganized the company in 1901, but after a falling out with financial backers in 1902, he left the company with $900 and the rights to his name. The soon-to-be car mogul would later receive financial assistance through an acquaintance named Alexander Y. Malcomson. The two started the partnership of Ford and Malcomson. Unfortunately, the pair soon found themselves losing more money than making it and Ford was yet again facing financial woes. Nevertheless, Malcolmson convinced his uncle John S. Gray, President of the German-American Savings Bank to help.
• Inventory Henry Ford builds his first car, a buggy on four bicycle wheels called the Quadricycle in 1896.
• Twelve investors later, and despite Gray’s misgivings, the Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 and showed immediate profits in less than a year with the success of the Model A “Fordmobile.”
• By May 1906, Malcomson had sold his shares to Ford and Gray died suddenly that same year.
• Although the 1928 Model A was the first car to display the now famous Ford script, the oval trademark was actually first introduced in 1907.
• In 1908, the wildly popular Model T is introduced with 15 million manufactured. By 1916, over 55% of all vehicles purchased by consumers were Ford Model T’s.
• In 1911, the company expanded rapidly overseas with assembly plants in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland and South Africa.
• By 1913, Henry Ford developed basic techniques for assembly line and mass production. Allegedly, he got the idea from the way pigs are butchered. However, due to the great demand for Ford vehicles, this line of work was also demanding on its workers and caused a high rate of turnovers.
• In January 1914, Ford fixed the problem by reducing the work shift hours and increased the pay. At the time, Ford was one of the very few employers who hired disabled people. He was also criticized by Wall Street for his charitable labor practices, especially for allowing workers to make a large enough salary to afford the very products they made.
• Between 1915 and 1916, the Model T cars were the underpinnings for military vehicles such as the 1916 ambulance and the Ford 3-Ton M1918 tank.
• In 1919, Edsel Ford took over the company as president with Henry still involved in management. Meanwhile, new automaker GM, was slowly revving up the competition by offering innovative and luxury features. In some cases, GM and Chrysler surpassed Ford all because Ford neglected consumer demand for improved vehicles which included things like four-wheel brakes. Competitors even opened the flood doors to extending credit, a practice Ford strongly resisted to but eventually relented.
• In 1921, Ford exceeds the one million car production per year which was 10 more than what Chevrolet manufactured at the time.
• On February 4, 1922, Ford acquired the Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million. The company had been founded by Abraham Lincoln admirer, Henry M. LeLand.
• In 1927, the production of Model T cars stopped.
• In 1925, the Ford Tri-Motor airplane is created for airline services.
• In 1928, Ford Motor Company built the largest museum of American History – The Henry Ford. Among items of interest are the chair in which Abraham Lincoln sat in when he was assassinated and the Lincoln limousine John F. Kennedy rode in when he was assassinated.
• By 1931, despite the Great Depression, it is clear that Ford and Chevy brands are the leading the car industry as they battle for auto sales. Despite the hardships and miseries caused by the Great Depression, Ford Motor Company survived even after having to lay off hundreds of workers.
• The Lincoln-Zephyr is introduced in 1936.
• In 1938, Henry Ford is awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. There is some evidence that Ford had Nazi sympathies pre-WWI and may have financed a few Nazi activities.
• In 1939, the now defunct Mercury division is formed.
• In 1943, Henry Ford resumes his position as President after his son Edsel succumbs to cancer at age 49.
• In 1945, Henry Ford II is appointed President.
• In 1947, Henry Ford dies at the age of 83 from cerebral hemorrhage.
• In 1948, the first F-1 truck and Lincoln Continental are introduced.
• On September 26, 1956, the Ford World Headquarters is dedicated.
• In 1957, Ford is the top selling automobile brand.
• In 1959, the Ford Credit Corporation is formed to provide customers with automotive financing.
• In 1960, the world is introduced to the Ford Galaxie and Ford Falcon. Also, newly appointed Ford President Robert McNamara is also appointed Secretary of Defense by President elect John F. Kennedy.
• In 1964, the now classic Ford Mustang comes on the scene.
• In 1972, retractable seat belts are installed.
• In 1987, Ford acquires Hertz Rent-a-car and 70-year-old Henry Ford II dies.
• In 1991, the Ford Explorer goes on sale and quickly becomes a popular family SUV.
• In 2003, Ford Motor Company celebrates its 100th Anniversary.
Over the course of time, Ford has owned five other luxury brands, including: Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercy and Volvo. Today, it is almost back to its humble beginnings with Ford and Lincoln. Although first introduced in 1975, Ford’s F-150 truck has consistently ranked as the number one selling pick-up truck for over 43 years and best selling vehicle in the United States for 32 years. Henry Ford started out with a dream and a few obstacles along the way, but because of his legacy the Ford name is recognized and respected around the world.