Celebrating its 110th birthday on June 16, 2013 Ford Motor Company is one of the three dominant American automobile manufacturers. Founded by Henry Ford, the company and the man are credited with putting the nation on wheels. Ford is so intrinsically intertwined with the history of the automobile; many people credit him with inventing the car (actually that was done Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz in 1886).
One of the pioneers in the field of automotive transportation nonetheless, Ford’s contribution to the fledgling industry was his introduction of economies of scale to auto production by building many cars at once, using a moving assembly line.
Born in July of 1863, Henry Ford developed and produced the first new cars middle class Americans could afford to buy. Revolutionary in design, the new Ford cars were easy to drive, easy to work on, and hugely affordable to purchase.
Over the ensuing years, one of the most heavily coveted new Ford models has been the Thunderbird. Introduced in 1955, in response to Chevrolet’s Corvette, the new Ford models were more of a personal luxury coupe than a sports car like the Corvette. Still, Thunderbird found a ready following.
Ford’s first “small” car, the Falcon, was notable for that fact alone. But there is another more significant reason. The Falcon’s platform underpinned the 1964 Ford Mustang. An instant best seller, the new Ford Mustang cars caused every other American manufacturer to come up with a competing model.
The 1970s saw a considerable change of fortune for Ford. The fuel crisis made a lot of the brand’s product portfolio uncompetitive against the wave of more efficient imported cars. In the 1980s, the company introduced the Taurus family sedan and the Escort compact car, both of which improved showroom traffic for new Ford cars considerably.
Regardless of the times though, Ford has always shown particular strength in trucks. The Ford F-150 pickup truck is consistently the best selling truck in America, as well as one of the best-selling vehicles—period. Ford also benefitted a great deal from the SUV boom of the late 1980s and the 1990s.
Today, the Ford brand sells new cars, trucks, and SUVs and is the second largest U.S. -based automaker (after General Motors). The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand name. It sells luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. It also has a small holding in Aston Martin as well as Mazda.