Today, the world’s largest manufacturer is known all over the world. Ford Motor Company ranks fourth in the world in terms of sales for the entire period of the automotive industry. Recall that the headquarters of the auto giant is located in Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America.
Founder’s Long Journey – Beginning 1903
Behind the creation of the largest corporation is Henry Ford, who, on June 16, 1903, founded a company whose future was great. The Ford story begins with the founding of a small company in 1899. Then a young entrepreneur opens a small business, which crashes after a year. In 1901, a second attempt was made, and the Henry Ford Company appeared on the registers.
Despite several setbacks, the founder managed to find 12 investors who owned a thousand shares of Ford Motor Company. Ford himself had just over a quarter. Of course, the fame of failed projects had already begun to spread, so investors were skeptical. Despite suspicions, the company almost immediately began to turn a profit. The first earnings were already received on October 1, 1903, and amounted to 37 thousand dollars. At that time, such models as the Ford Model A, Model K, and Model S were introduced.
Particular attention should be paid to model K. The release of new items started in 1906. The Focus is on a six-cylinder engine with 40 hp. The unspoken name that immediately stuck to the model is the Gentleman’s Roadster. The quality of the Ford left much to be desired, which was the end for its production. It did not receive the expected popularity in the market. In 1908, the company abandoned it due to low demand and managed to sell 900 copies. Model B also dropped out of the lineup, as relying on wealthy buyers who could buy Ford also did not pay off.
Innovations That Turned the World’s Auto Industry – 1908 – 1914
As a result, the conclusions made helped to determine a suitable niche. So, the company concentrated its efforts on the production of inexpensive cars. The second reason for the transition to mass production for the middle class was reducing costs.
I want to pay special attention to the innovative methods that have been used in American factories. At the beginning of the journey, several groups were responsible for creating the machine, divided into 2-3 people. They assembled a “constructor” from parts brought by third-party companies. The company did not have its factory, so the management agreed with one of the factories in Detroit, where workers assembled cars for only a few hours a day. After demand soared, expansion arose, and the company moved to Highland Park.
In 1913, Ford Motor made a real breakthrough and opened a revolutionary way of production – the assembly line. This allowed us to reduce the production time significantly. Now it takes up to 1.5 hours to make one chassis. As a result, the annual volume increased from 202,667 units to 308,162 units by 1914 and 501,462 units by 1915. Five years later, production was operating at a tremendous speed, which made it possible to produce up to a million cars per year of operation.
Of course, the desire for mass production hurt the mood of workers. The staff turnover was prohibitive, as a result, it turned out to be very difficult to find qualified employees. Turnover began to fall as the training of new employees “ate” the lion’s share of all income. In addition, overwork became a stumbling block, both for the quality and quantity of produced cars.
In this regard, Ford begins to look for solutions. It is to him that world history owes “interviews.” It begins to test workers before hiring and also opens the recruitment of people with disabilities, for whom this plant becomes the only place of possible employment. As a result, he managed to reduce staff turnover and an increase in the number of products produced. In addition, Ford has another goal – to create a class of potential buyers.
The Company’s Entry Into the World Market – 1904 – 1929
In 1904, the company was already familiar to the whole world. At this time, it is possible to sign a contract to produce cars in Canada. In 1907, a similar agreement was signed with Russia, valid on its territory until 2017. In 1911, there was an increase in influence on the world stage, and contracts were signed with Austria, Argentina, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, and Australia. Of course, it was not possible to set records in these countries. Half of all cars were produced in the USA, 40% in England. Despite the modesty of the other sites, conveyors were also used here.
In 1916, Ford produced a medical car, essentially a modification of the Model T. During the First World War, it was widely used by the British, Americans, and French. A powerful engine is installed under the hood, accelerating the car to 72 km / h. In the same year, profits begin to grow as much as possible upwards. Ford decided to build its factories, which dramatically increased productivity and reduced prices.
The beginning of the 1920s was not the most successful for the company. Ford is being squeezed out by its closest competitors, Chrysler and GM. Domestic and foreign manufacturers are beginning to offer their cars innovative luxury features, and Ford prices are much higher. The acquisition of the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922 helped eliminate competitors.
The black spot in the history of Ford will remain the Great Depression when there was a sharp decline in sales, which means that some workers had to be laid off. Despite the provision of assistance to troubled families, the masses’ discontent grew. Henry Ford takes on the wrath of the groups, who are now forced to look for a new job. He participates in a call to remain calm, but people pour into the street clashes with the police, resulting in the death of 5 people and the injury of 60.
Not the last role in the restoration of peaceful order was played by the Soviet Union, which signed an agreement with the Ford Motor Company in 1929. As a result, in 1938, an automobile plant appeared on the territory of Nizhny Novgorod. Some of the qualified personnel are also sent there. As a result, the new production lines are called the Gorky Automobile Plant or GAZ, which subsequently introduces the GAZ -A and GAZ-AA to the market based on American developments from the Ford A and Ford AA models.
The Second World War, the post-war period, and the change of leadership
Ford also contributed to equipping the army during World War II. The production of trucks, tanks, spare parts, bombers, machine tools, and artillery installations is entering the conveyor. In this regard, contracts are concluded everywhere.
On September 24, 1945, Henry Ford passed the company’s management into his eldest grandson, Henry Ford II. Two years later, the founder of the automotive giant died of a brain hemorrhage. But, despite his death, the company is experiencing a new wave of the search for revolutionary solutions. So, in 1955, the Thunderbird or T-Bird for short appeared, which was later introduced in 11 generations. Ford photos perfectly show the progress of its development. Over the entire history, 4.4 million cars have been produced. It was a two-seat car for the elite, who learned to drive on their own, without the help of a driver. As a result, a 4.8-liter V8 engine with a capacity of 193 hp is installed under the hood.
In 1959, a full-size novelty appeared – Ford Galaxie, the release of which will be delayed for 15 years. The car appeared in many modifications with different body types. Among the innovations of this car are the appearance of a “child lock” on the doors and an energy-absorbing steering wheel. In 1960, the Ford Falcon rolled off the assembly line, becoming the progenitor for Mustang I, Granada, and Maverick.
Release of the Legendary Ford Mustang – 1964
It is impossible not to recall the “legend” – Ford Mustang, which was “born” in 1964. The company needed a car that everyone would dream of. In addition, the niche of the car-star was not closed. As a result, many prototypes were shown over the years. However, the manufacturer still could not find a happy medium until 1963. The long search was rewarded with a rush of demand. During the first year, more than 263 thousand cars were sold. A powerful advertising campaign charged to release the legend played a significant role. Under the hood was a 2.8-liter Ford engine with a 3-speed manual or 2-3-range automatic transmission. The Mustang could boast of handling, economy, dynamics, and comfort.
Development of the Modern Model Range
In 1986, the Ford company bought Aston Martin, and three years later, it “cleans up” Jaguar shares. In the 90th year, he won the title of the best all-wheel-drive car of the year for the appearance of the Ford Explorer. Immediately after the arrival, the latter becomes a new legend that can please the owner of 155 hp.
In 1996, the lineup was expanded with the arrival of the Bronco, which stood between the recently released Ford Expedition and the Explorer’s younger brother. At this time, the outdated Escort was being replaced on the European market by the Ford Focus. A lot of positive feedback surrounded him immediately after the show at the Geneva Motor Festival. He manages to squeeze into the top ten best-selling models in Europe and Russia.
Surprisingly, Focus entered the American market after presenting it in the European part. The Americans received the first models only in 1999. Later, he acquired many bodies: a three- and five-door hatchback, a sedan, and a station wagon. In addition to the bright appearance, Ford restyling focuses on energy-intensive suspension. In 2010, the company expanded in Germany, buying headquarters in Cologne, where Jim Farley became CEO. Later, this branch becomes the owner of the Merkur brand, which brings only two cars to the lineup – the Ford Sierra and the Scorpio.
In 2009, the Vsevolozhsk plant continued producing the Ford Mondeo (represented on the American market as the Ford Fusion with a difference in the number of engines used) of six trim levels. The advantage of the American model is the use of Ford diesel, manual and automatic transmissions. In 2009, the share of production in the Russian Federation of this model increased to 7.4 percent. Particular attention is riveted to the Russian market since local models “move” to America and not vice versa. This is precisely what happened with the Ford Fiesta. The latter was developed by the forces of the European division with the expectation of the local market.
In 2018, the plant lost its influence on the Russian market. In March 2019, information appeared about the closure of the production of passenger cars. The plans are to increase the production of business vehicles only, such as the Ford Transit. Unfortunately, it was impossible to save iconic models, such as Ford Kuga, whose sales ended in October 2019. Whether Ford 2 will try to bring cars back to Russia will show time, while there is still hope to preserve residual jobs.