History of Ford
Founded by Henry Ford and 11 investors in June 1903, Ford Motor Company's first production vehicle was the 'Fordmobile' (Model A). The triumph of this one model, although limited at the time, led to subsequent models and varying levels of success for the company. From 1906 to 1919 Ford grew significantly and the decision was soon made to open a UK based factory to meet the demand for its vehicles.
In 1929 the annual production of Ford cars peaked at a total of 1.5 million; this achievement now meant that Ford was outselling its major competitor Chevy. Through the war years the company stayed afloat by manufacturing general purpose 4x4s for military use. However, this also spurned post-war designs for many of the later production models. In particular, most modern 4x4s have a metal grille, something which was first seen on these 1940's Ford 4x4s.
In 1957 Ford launched the Edsel brand of automobiles, which sold a staggering 1.68 million models in the late fifties. As a result a decision was made in the 1960s to expand further by setting up a European manufacturing plant in order to dominate additional markets. This sparked a long line of company acquisitions, with Ford buying automotive companies such as Mazda, Hertz Rent-a-Car, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Volvo to name but a few. This pattern even continued into this century with the acquisition of Land Rover from BMW in 2000.
From 2006 onwards, Ford enforced a colossal restructuring program to close unprofitable factories and sell assets that were no longer generating profit. This included the sale of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover in 2007.
If this restructuring program is handled competently, the firm may be able to regain the market dominance and profits it once had. However, it is clear that this company will be around for some time; it is a vital brand that has cemented its place in automotive history.