A Short History of the Ford Motor Company

A Short History of the Ford Motor Company

The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford in 1903. It is the second largest automobile manufacturing in the country and the fifth in the world, behind Volkswagen, GM, and Toyota. The Ford Motor Company is located outside Detroit, Michigan in a town called Dearborn. The Ford Company oversees production for more than just the Ford brand of vehicles. Some of the brands that have fallen or currently fall under the aegis of the Ford Motor Company are Lincoln, Mercury, Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo. Ford also controls portions of Mazda and Aston Martin. Despite the many setbacks the automobile industry has faced over the last several years, Ford has been granted impressive acclaim from J.D. Power & Associates.

Modest Beginnings

The Ford Motor Company began modestly in 1901, as the Henry Ford Company. Ford abandoned the project and the company was taken over and renamed the Cadillac Motor Company. In 1903, using about $28,000 dollars borrowed from multiple investors, including John and Horace Dodge, to manufacture a small number of automobiles per day in a converted factory. Two to three men were assigned to different stations, building cars from the ground up out of parts from various other manufacturers. Eventually, Ford realized the improvement in efficiency that could be made if the parts were made in-house instead of purchased from elsewhere. This policy led to his innovative use of the assembly line in manufacturing.

A Mature Business

At 40 years of age, Ford was far from the young, bright-eyed entrepreneur when he launched what became one of the leading auto manufacturers in the world. Perhaps his experience made him a shrewder businessman, and allowed the Ford Motor Company to withstand financial blows large and small, most notably, the Great Depression. Despite this, Ford’s employees were paid about $5 daily for their labor, which was over twice what other laborers in auto manufacturing typically took. This had the result of drawing in the most industrious and innovative mechanics, which in turn, led to constant improvement and development of new products. That iconic machine, the Model T, hit the market in 1908, and had many groundbreaking features: the steering wheel was placated on the left side of the vehicle, which soon became the standard model in this country. As did the widespread car dealerships that Ford pioneered. Each was locally owned, but licensed by Ford to sell, repair, and maintain Ford vehicles, and thus made the Model T a national phenomenon. In just ten years, more than half the cars in the country were Model Ts. As time went on, and other manufacturers were putting new models on the market, the Model T declined in popularity, and Ford stubbornly rejected any updates to his original design. Still, the Ford brand endured, synonymous with quality and durability. The Ford Motor Company also stands apart in its ability to remain a family business: for more than a century, the auto manufacturer has been controlled by a member of the Ford family.

Lawrence Reaves writes about Used Ford Engines and Used Ford Transmissions for Woodfins.com

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