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Ford

Ford

United States of America United States of America (1903 - present)
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History

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

© photo courtesy of: Ford

Ford is mostly renowned for having established the innovative method of car mass production with moving assembly lines that work in typified sequences. The industrial workforce was also a target for new typified work methods that allow a large scale management.

Henry Ford’s strategy was to combine high technologic levels of production with high salaries and low prices – a tactic that would be internationally known as the Fordism. This working method that was implemented in 1913/14 allowed the company to grow dramatically in terms of units produced a day, by reducing production time.

Ford had introduced its legendary Model TModel TFord Model TUnited States of America, 1908 > 19205 versions
41 photos
2 videos
in 1908 and high customer demands forced the company to relocate production to a larger factory. In addition to that, a new plant – the first from Ford to open outside its home country – was set in Manchester, England, in 1911.

Two years later on and Ford cars represented half of all cars produced in the United States, which allowed the company to invest on workforce productivity, with double payments and cutting on working shifts (from 9- to 8-hour days).

It was also Ford who conceived the franchising system of dealers and the company kept on reducing the cars’ costs. The Ford Model T became the car that half of the American drivers had in 1918. In fact, 15 million copies of the Model T had been sold when it was taken off the market in 1927.

Henry’s son, Edsel Ford, took over the company’s presidency in 1919, retaining the management within the family.

Edsel ignored the public’s demands for more luxurious models and carried on with the company’s traditional cost-cutting policy. That fact provided market space for rival car builders that started producing what the customers wanted – luxury and innovation.

Ford Model T

Ford Model T

© photo courtesy of: Ford

It wasn’t until 1925 that the Fords realized the benefits from entering the luxury segment of the automobile market – the company bought the deluxe car fabricator Lincoln Motor CompanyLincolnLincolnUnited States of America, 1917 > present26 models
475 photos
1 video
.

Later, in 1938, Ford also launched a new car brand, MercuryMercuryMercuryUnited States of America, 1939 > present17 models
76 photos
, in order to fill the gap between Ford cheap cars and Lincoln deluxe and expensive ones. Mercury embodied Ford’s segment of mid-priced cars.

The late years of the World War II marked an important production change for the car builder that started producing war-purpose vehicles, components, bombers and tanks.

Edsel Ford would die in 1943 and his son Henry Ford II took over the presidency in 1945 until 1960. In 1946 Henry II resumed the car production that had been suspended during the War.

In 1960, the company’s administration elected the first Ford president that wasn’t from the Ford family, Robert S. McNamara. This man was responsible for Ford’s post-war development and success.

In the time frame of about two decades, from 1979 to 2000, Ford acquired five different car companies and a rent-a-car and incorporated them in its group: MazdaMazdaMazdaJapan, 1920 > present78 models
2308 photos
7 videos
(25% in 1979, raised to 33.4% in 1989), Aston Martin LagondaAston MartinAston MartinUnited Kingdom, 1914 > present62 models
1864 photos
24 videos
and Hertz Rent-a-Car (1987), JaguarJaguarJaguarUnited Kingdom, 1922 > present50 models
2141 photos
16 videos
(1989), VolvoVolvoVolvoSweden, 1927 > present49 models
4464 photos
6 videos
(1999) and Land RoverLand RoverLand RoverUnited Kingdom, 1978 > present14 models
1674 photos
9 videos
(2000).
In 2003, Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary by introducing the Ford GTGT Gen.1Ford GT Gen.1United States of America, 2002 > 20062 versions
20 photos
.

Land Rover and Jaguar left the Ford group of brands in 2008, having been sold to Indian automaker Tata MotorsTataTataIndia, 1945 > present5 models
28 photos
1 video
.

The Ford family currently retains around 40% control of the American car builder that they once founded.



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Logo

Ford Logos

Ford Logos

© photo courtesy of: Ford

Ford’s characteristic oval symbol was created in 1903 by the company’s first chief engineer and designer Childe Harold Wills. It consisted on a dark blue background with white script lettering that was inspired by Wills’ own business cards and an ‘art nouveau’ border.

Slightly revised over the years, that symbol was set on all Ford cars and was registered at the United States Patent Office in 1909. But the oval and scripted symbol that we know today was definitively set in 1911.

The logo evolved and received some changes throughout the decades. It was transformed into a triangle with wings for a short time in 1912, carrying the words “The Universal Car”, but returned to its original form, which lasted until the end of the 1950’s. By that time, the oval shape was slightly altered, now looking more like the shape of a lemon.

It wasn’t until the mid-1970’s that Ford set the definitive blue and silver oval that is still currently identifying the company on all its vehicles.



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Motorsport

Ford GT40

Ford GT40

© photo courtesy of: Ford

Ford has already entered several types of motor sports, such as sports car races, endurance races and rallies.
In the 1960’s, the Ford GT40GT40Ford GT40United States of America, 1964 > 19684 series
5 versions
52 photos
1 video
brought home the title for the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times. It is still the only American car that achieved an overall victory at that race.

From 1965 to 1996, racing cars that were powered by Ford engines have won 17 Indianapolis 500.
Ford also conceived the single-seater car race Formula Ford in 1966 in the United Kingdom and that has been the career-starting competition for many credited and famous drivers.

For many years, namely from 1967 to 2004, Ford was deeply involved in the Formula 1 as an engine supplier for many racing teams. Ford-powered cars from teams like McLarenMcLarenMcLarenUnited Kingdom, 1963 > present89 models
1869 photos
12 videos
and LotusLotusLotusUnited Kingdom, 1952 > present68 models
938 photos
7 videos
have won 176 Grand Prix races.

However, when Ford started competing in the constructors’ category with the Jaguar Racing team, between 2000 and 2004, they were quite unsuccessful on the Formula 1 circuits, so Ford gave up on the competition.

In the 1970’s, the Ford MustangMustangFord MustangUnited States of America, 1964 > present6 series
146 versions
446 photos
4 videos
started to compete at the Trans-Am series and has added up several championship titles and race victories to the company’s awards.

Ford also entered the World Rally Championship in its inaugural year, 1973, and has since built quite a successful history for the brand in the world of rally racing. The BP-Ford World Rally Team has won the manufacturers’ title in 1979, 2006 and again in 2007.

Ford currently participates at the NASCAR series (Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series) as a manufacturer.

The Ford Fusion has given the brand 8 Sprint Cup manufacturers’ championship titles.

Le Mans: Ford vs. Ferrari - Part 1

Le Mans: Ford vs. Ferrari - Part 2



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