Ford Motor Company was established in 1903 by Henry Ford and 11 business associates. At that time, the US was home of 87 other car companies. Before Ford, cars were luxury items, very expensive and only affordable by the wealthy. Ford’s genius was to recognize that with the right technology, cars can be made available to the public at an affordable price. He focused on making the process more efficient and as a result produced more cars and charged lower prices. Within short time Ford became an innovative and one of the most successful car-producers of the US.
After 20 years of experimentations, the company launched its first model “T”, also known as “Tin Lizzie” in 1908. It was a powerful car with a possible speed of 45 mph. It could run 25 miles on a gallon of gasoline. It carried a 20-horsepower, side-valve four-cylinder engine and two-speed planetary transmission on a 100-inch wheelbase.
But some of Ford’s greatest innovations were not in cars themselves but in the manufacturing process. In 1914, he introduced a moving conveyor belt at the Highland Park plant which led to a dramatic increase in production. As a result, in 1914, Ford produced 308,162 cars, more than all other automakers combined, thus making Ford the inventor of mass production.
In 1917, he set the first step toward an all-in-one manufacturing complex, where the processing of raw materials, parts and final automobiles could happen efficiently in a single place. Also in 1917 the company began producing trucks and tractors. In 1919, after a conflict between Henry Ford and the stockholders, several investors left and the company became wholly owned by the Ford family.
Since its establishment in 1903, Ford has successfully developed its position in the global automotive industry, ranking among the top of the world’s biggest car manufacturer.
It manufactures and distributes automobiles in over 200 markets across five continents. Ford primarily operates in the US and Europe with 95 plants worldwide. It is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, and employed 246,000 people as of December 2007.
Ford Manuals PDF. The company recorded revenues of $172,455 million in fiscal year up to December 2007, an increase of 7.7 per cent over 2006. The operating profit of the company was $5,631 million in fiscal year 2007, as compared to an operating loss of $8,190 million in 2006. The net loss was $2,723 million in 2007, compared to a net loss of $12,613 million in 2006. Ford is divided into two businesses: the automotive division and the financial service division.
In the automotive business Ford produces a variety of vehicles, among them cars for the small, medium, large and premium segment as well as trucks, buses, vans and SUV’s. The company's automotive vehicle brands include Ford, Jaguar, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. It also owns a 33.4 per cent controlling stake in Mazda. Following the consumer trend towards smaller and more economical cars, Ford has increased its business in this segment. The automotive business is organized into five segments: Ford North America, Ford South America, Ford Europe, Premier Automotive Group (PAG), and Ford Asia Pacific & Africa and Mazda. In addition to manufacturing and selling cars and trucks, Ford also provides a variety of after-sales services and products through its dealer network.
Financial Service Division
The financial service division, Ford Motor Credit Company, was established in 1923 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford. It provides automotive financing for Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo dealers and customers. Ford Credit was established so Ford Motor Company dealers could provide competitive financing services to both individuals and businesses. The key financial services include: retail financing, wholesale financing and third-party claim management services. The revenues of the two divisions in FY 2007 were split as follows: automotive (89.5 per cent) and financial services (10.5 per cent)ii.
In 1922, Ford bought Lincoln Motor Company, named after Abraham Lincoln, for $8 million. Lincoln became the first "outsider" to join the Ford family of vehicle brands and initiated the company's entrance into the luxury market.
In the mid 1950s, Ford went public. In the same decade, Ford introduced the legendary Ford Thunderbird at Detroit’s first auto show after World War II. The two-seated sports car became a legend and grew with each generation during the next five decades. Thun-derbird went through several design changes with coupes, sedans, convertibles, hardtops, and mid-size and large-size configurations. It went on hiatus after the 1997 model year, but returned in 2001 as a retro-styled roadster.
The global expansion of Ford was intensified in 1960s when the company established Ford Europe in 1967. The “North American Automotive Operations” was established in 1971, consolidating the operations in the US, Canada and Mexico. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the expansion continued with further moves into Europe and Asia.
In 1987, Ford helped to form the Park Ridge Corporation in order to acquire the Hertz car rental business. Seven years later, Ford increased its stake in Hertz to 100 per cent. During the 1990s, as a result of the growing US economy and the low fuel price, Ford succeeded in selling a large number of vehicles in the home market. Also in the 1990s, the company acquired Jaguar and Land Rover.
The presence in China and Thailand was further extended during 2002 und 2003. In 2004, Ford signed a deal with the Chinese government to secure rights to land in Nanjing, where the company plans to build a second Ford plant in China. In 2005, Ford took full control of its operations in India with the purchase of a nearly 16 per cent stake from its partner, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Ford Motor had set up its Indian subsidiary in Madras in 1995 as a 50-50 joint venture with Mahindra.
However, in the 2000s Ford experienced a downwards trend in its performance. The slowing economy, an increase in the fuel price as well as its product mix - the focus on fuel-intensive passenger cars - led to a decrease in sales.
Also in 2000, Ford was facing a major loss of reputation. Firestone tires that were fitted to all Ford Explorer vehicles were tipping and causing accidents. Bridgestone/Firestone recalled more than 6.5 million tires after more than 200 rollover deaths in Ford Explorers. The tires exploded while the vehicle was moving; as a result the SUVs lost control. Ford recalled another 13 million tires in 2001. As a consequence, Firestone/Bridgestone dumped Ford as a customer and accused the company of using Firestone/Bridgestone as a scapegoat to deflect attention from the Ford Explorer. Ford’s cost for the product recalls summed up to 2 billion US$. After Federal investigators concluded that the tire defects were the main cause for the rollovers, Firestone/Bridgestone decided in 2005 to pay Ford US$ 240 million to help cover the costs of the recalls. However, as a consequence the reputation and credibility of Ford sank and the public lost confidence in the company
Ford Motor Company has organized its automotive business activities into five segments: Ford North America, Ford South America, Ford Europe, Premier Automotive Group (PAG) and Ford Asia Pacific and Africa/Mazda. Ford is therefore divided into geographical regions on the one hand and separates its Ford brands from luxury brands on the other hand. Whereas Ford Europe sells Ford brand vehicles and related service parts in Europe, Turkey and Russia, PAG - also located in Europe - sells its luxury brands (Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover) throughout the whole world.