Ford Motors was formed by Henry Ford in 1903 near Detroit, Mich. Ford started the company with $28,000 in funding that had come from investors like John and Horace Dodge, who would later go on to form the Dodge car company a few years later.
Henry Ford was an early experimenter with automobiles after previously working for Thomas Edison. His ambition with his own company was to build affordable cars that for the average American. Ford realized that ambition almost instantly with the Model A, which was released in 1903. However, the most impactful Ford was the Model T, which was released in 1908.
The Model T enjoyed a 20-year run of production while it was purchased by more than 16 million Americans. It became the first mass-produced vehicle to catch on with the public at large mainly because it was simple to drive with the price of a very affordable $825. The Model T was also significant as the first automobile to use assembly lines. The entire assembly line process for building automobiles, as we now know, was developed by Ford Motors during the company’s formative years.
Ford Through The Years
While Ford is technically the second largest automobile company in the U.S. it’s still regarded as the first name in American cars around the world. The early success of the Model T established the brand as a mainstay.
Ford followed up on the Model T’s success by acquiring Lincoln Motor Company in 1925. Ford used the Lincoln brand to expand into the luxury car market just as it began using the Mercury marque to develop mid-priced vehicles.
Ford’s most iconic vehicle in the postwar era was the Thunderbird, which came out in the 1950s. A sporty two-seater and available as a convertible and a coupe, the Thunderbird, most commonly known as the T-Bird, featured innovations like power windows. During the 1960s, Ford also produced a number of iconic vehicles including the popular Ford Falcon and the car that helped establish the standard for the American muscle car, the Ford Mustang.
The 1970s impacted Ford heavily, just as it did other American auto manufacturers. Middle Eastern oil crisis’ and new government regulations forced Ford to reevaluate and reconfigure their product line. Ford followed the trend toward more compact, economical vehicles by acquiring part of Japanese car company, Mazda.
By the 1980s, Ford had reestablished itself as a powerhouse in the American automotive industry. Its compact Ford Escort was enormously popular and the Ford Taurus, unveiled in 1986, helped to redefine the modern midsize vehicle class. During the 1990s, SUV-crazed Ford produced the very successful Ford Explorer, a midsize SUV that was one of the most popular American made sport utilities of the era. Ford also expanded its global brand significantly during this period, acquiring British brands such as Jaguar and Aston Martin in the late 1980s and Volvo in the late 1990s.
However, like most U.S. automakers, Ford was forced to downsize in the last 10 years. While Fords are still popular with U.S. drivers, the company offloaded many of its foreign holdings including Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover, and Volvo.
Ford produces a number of popular vehicle models. One such vehicle is the Ford F-150 truck. As a full-size pickup truck, the F-150 was the best selling vehicle in the United States for more than two decades and retained its status as the best selling truck for more than three decades. The current model of the F-150 is powered by a Triton V-8 and features a lighter chassis to allow for greater fuel economy, heightened safety, and increased payload capacity.
In 2005, Ford reintroduced the Mustang, implementing a design that read like a modern take on the classic look of late 1960s models such as the one famously featured in the Steve McQueen film, “Bullitt.” Powered by a modular three-valve V-8 and equipped with a five-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic, the Mustang once again proved itself popular with drivers who crave the thrill of an all-American muscle car.
Unveiled in 2006, the Fusion is currently another one of Ford’s most popular vehicles. A four-door midsize sedan, the Fusion is available in standard and hybrid versions. Sized somewhere between the compact Focus and the full-size version of the Taurus, the Fusion was named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” in 2010.
Another of Ford’s currently popular vehicles is the Flex, a crossover SUV that was unveiled in 2008. A five-door SUV, the Flex features front-wheel drive and is available with a Duratec V-6 or the more efficient EcoBoost V-6.
Ford Products and Technologies
Ford is also responsible for one of the most widely driven American made hybrid vehicles on the market like the Escape, which is a hybrid crossover vehicle that is affordably priced and popular with drivers for its economy, reliability, and versatility.