Ford is one of the largest family owned businesses in the world with over 100 years under their belt. Ford is the second oldest automobile company in the US with Buick being the oldest by 22 days. Even though Ford came into business in 1903, Henry Ford, the founder of the company had already dealt with a huge deal of automobiles prior to that. Unknown fact is that he is the one of the main reasons why the Cadillac Motor Company came into existence. Cadillac’s first few cars were developed under him.

First Ford Logo- Source : https://logorealm.com/ford-logo/


Henry Ford was 39 years old when he started Ford. Ford opened shop in 1903 with investments by 12 investors, most notably, the Dodge brothers, John and Horace Dodge. His first assembly line started at a factory at Highland Park in 1913. Before that, all cars were handmade by the finest craftsmen that Henry could find. This assembly line was not only Henry Ford’s first but the production car to climb up that assembly line in the world. Henry Ford and his company gained popularity due to his infamous T-Model.

Henry Ford- Source : https://www.vision.org/henry-ford-biography-1

Prior there were all kinds of cars which only the rich and privileged could afford. The assembly line at Highland Park lowered the price of the T-Model from $700 to $350, which is a 50% cut. But T-Model made big news since this car could be owned by the common man. Ending the barrier and showing pure altruism is what got Henry Ford his head start. From 1908 to 1927, over 15 million T-Models were sold making it one of the most wanted cars of that time.

 

Ford T-Model Source : https://www.wheels24.co.za/News/Classic_cars/history-in-motion-109-year-old-ford-model-t-for-sale-20190912

Ford was huge in the US but not the biggest. He had many competitors. Cadillac and Packard in the luxury section, General Motors, and Buick in the mid-priced vehicles. Ford’s T-Model stopped production in late 1920s. Ford made a few decisions to tackle such opponents. He bought Lincoln Motors in 1922 to make a luxury line for the rich. He expanded his business outside of the US. He got contracts from Germany and the Soviet Union to make automobiles.

Source : https://usautoindustryworldwartwo.com/ford.htm

Source : https://www.assemblymag.com/articles/94614-how-fords-willow-run-assembly-plant-helped-win-world-war-ii

This was working well for Ford. In search for new technology and equipment, Ford opened a research lab in Dearborn, Michigan in 1964, where today Ford’s headquarters stand. This is where the Ford Mustang was born. They showcased the Mustang at the New York World Fair and it was an instant hit. Within the first 18 months, a million Mustangs were sold. Mustang went through multiple exteriors and changes over the years, but it hardly went out of style. I personally still get excited when I hear that 400 hp pure American engine. Mustang made their 10 millionth car in 2019 which celebrated 54 years of production.

Source : https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2018/08/08/ford-celebrates-production-of-10-millionth-mustang.html

Ford Mustang 1964 - Source : https://www.erclassics.com/ford-mustang-1964-f7879/

1990s were a huge decade for Ford. They undertook Jaguar and Aston Martin to expand their business in the luxury segment since the previous attempt at Lincoln did not end up expanding much into luxury car brands. Jaguar and Aston Martin were British motoring companies which strengthened Ford’s international influence. The American market boom in the 1990s hugely benefitted Ford. People in the 90s wanted cars that could help them carry a lot of stuff from the groceries or accommodate their families. They had grown out of the two seaters and coupe fashion. Ford saw this change and took advantage of it. They made family cars like the Explorer SUV and the F-150 truck. These two vehicles were massive favourites since they did more than just look good, but also added functionality and effectiveness in the equation.  7 million Ford Explorers were sold in the American market alone. F-150 is still in production with various models till this day.

Ford F-150 1990 - Source : https://www.blueovaltech.com/history/1990-ford-trucks.php

The dawn of the new century was not that massive for Ford. Even though William Clay Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford came into control at Ford, the first decade of the century created huge problems for Ford. Resizing took place, some bad models came out, inefficient production lines, all led to a huge loss for Ford in the fiscal year of 2006. It had almost gotten to a point of bankruptcy. It registered a loss of 13 billion dollars in 2006, which was their all time low. It was projected that the company would take atleast take 4 years to bounce back, but Ford registered a profit of 750 million dollars in just the second quarter of 2007.

The company sold its Jaguar and Land rover rights over to the Indian Company, Tata motors in 2008 for 2.3 billion dollars to compensate for the huge losses Ford undertook.

Over the past decade, Ford has been making big moves in terms of new models and upgrading the old ones. Artificial Intelligence is being prioritized since the coming of the new age demands such technological advancements in all automobile companies. Ford has been incurring losses on American soil but is compensating for those losses in their sales across the globe.

A little unknown fact, the first car that Henry Ford made was called the Quadricycle, which touched the 20mph in 1896. It does not seem like much but during that time, this thing was flying. Who knew that one would hear that in Ford a lot more times? This gave birth to Ford Racing or Ford Performance. Whether it be NASCAR, World Rally Championship or Le Mans, Ford Racing was a part of every big race in the world. They also excelled in each one. Le Mans 24 hours was Ford’s biggest project. Their biggest competitor was the most iconic Italian car companies in the world, Ferrari. If you wish to know more about that, the movie Ford vs Ferrari explains it well. If you have not seen the movie, do not read till the end of this paragraph. Carroll Shelby, who was also responsible for the legendary Shelby Cobra, in collaboration with British Driver Ken Miles, bended the laws of physics and speed to defeat Ferrari and end their win drought.

Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby. Source : https://in.pinterest.com/pin/771241504932303132/

Ford GT Le mans 1966 - Source : https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/news/ford-distances-itself-le-mans-66-film 

Ford is currently worth more than $140 billion making it hugely profitable. It wishes to grow further by adapting the new electric and self-driving developments. Ford’s most sold vehicle is the F-150 truck mentioned before. It has had many new models. The Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Ford Model T and Ford Escort are the other top four vehicles developed by Ford. Ford attempts to make more families purchasing their vehicles with top quality features. The Dearborn based family and company wishes that their company learns from their previous endeavours and ventures to improve on their mistakes.

Ford Dearborn Headquarters - Source : https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/ford/2019/09/17/ford-revamps-plans-dearborn-campus-redesign/2341974001/




About the author
Anhad Aggarwal

Anhad Aggarwal is a sophomore studying at The Pennsylvania University. He is pursuing Mechanical Engineering and also loves to convey his thoughts and ideas through writing. A theatre and drama lover, Anhad is also a car enthusiast and wants to eventually pursue automobile engineering. He belie.

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