The Ford Motor Company

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Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation and the world's third largest automaker based on vehicle sales in 2005. Based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Metro Detroit, the automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated in 1903. Ford now encompasses many global brands, including Lincoln and Mercury of the US, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover of Great Britain, and Volvo of Sweden. Ford also owns a one-third controlling interest in Mazda.

Ford has also been one of the world's ten largest corporations by revenue and in 1999 ranked as one of the world's most profitable corporations. In recent years, it has not fared as well and since 1995 has lost market share in the U.S. for eleven years in a row. In December 2006 the company announced that it expects Toyota to overtake it as the number 2 auto-maker in the US market.

Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce, especially elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines. Henry Ford's combination of highly efficient factories, highly paid workers, and low prices revolutionized manufacturing and came to be known around the world as Fordism by 1914. He is not related in any way to the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Rudolph Ford, though they were both raised in the same state, which is Michigan.

CHAPTER II. HISTORY

Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

1.EARLY DEVELOPMENT

Ford was launched from a converted wagon factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors. During its early years, the company produced just a few Alphabet Cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies. Henry Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, as well as being one of the few to survive the Great Depression. The largest family-controlled company in the world, the Ford Motor Company has been in continuous family control for over 100 years.

In 1908, the Ford Company released the Ford Model T. The first Model T's were built at the Piquette Manufacturing Plant. The company moved production to the much larger Highland Park Plant to keep up with the demand for the Model T. By 1913, the company had developed all of the basic techniques of the assembly line and mass production.

Ford introduced the world's first moving assembly line that year, which reduced chassis assembly time from 12½ hours in October to 2 hours, 40 minutes. However, these innovations were hard on employees, and turnover of workers was very high. Turnover meant delays and extra costs of training, and use of slow workers. In January 1914, Ford solved the employee turnover problem by doubling pay to $5 a day ($103 per day in 2006 dollars), cutting shifts from nine hours to an eight hour day for a 5 day work week, and instituting hiring practices that identified the best workers. Thus, it pioneered the minimum wage and the 40 hour work week in the United States, before the government enacted it. Thus, Henry Ford became an American legend.

Productivity soared and employee turnover plunged, and the cost per vehicle plummeted. Ford cut prices again and again and invented the system of franchised dealers who were loyal to his brand name. Wall Street had disagreed with Ford's generous labor practices when he began paying workers enough to buy the products they made.

Ford assembly line (1913)

By the end of 1919, Ford was producing 50 percent of all cars in the United States, and by 1920 half of all cars in the country were Model Ts. Henry Ford is reported to have said, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black." This was because black paint was quickest to dry; thus assembly time was cut down. Earlier models had been available in a variety of colors.

In 1915, Henry Ford went on a peace mission to Europe aboard a ship, joining other pacifists in efforts to stop World War I. This led to an increase in his personal popularity. Ford would subsequently go on to support the war effort with the Model T becoming the underpinnings for allied military vehicles.

2.HISTORY OF THE BLUE OVAL

The Ford oval trademark was first introduced in 1907. The 1928 Model A was the first vehicle to sport an early version of the Ford script in the oval badge. The dark blue background of the oval is known to designers as Pantone 294C, the same color used in Finland's flag.

The Ford script is credited to Childe Harold Wills, Ford's first chief engineer and designer. He created a script in 1903 based on the one he used for his business cards. Today, the oval has evolved into a perfect oval with a width-to-height ratio of 8:3. The current Centennial Oval was introduced on June 17, 2003 as part of the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company.

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