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Ford has been a leader in the auto industry for many years. Several of the models are household names, like the Ford Mustang and Ford F-150. While the company produces a full lineup of vehicles, it’s best known for its Ford trucks, which have rated at the top of numerous lists for years.
The History of Ford
Henry Ford founded the Henry Ford Company, and his name is synonymous with automobiles. Many people credit him with creating the auto even though others had actually developed earlier prototypes and components for the modern vehicle before him.
Ford established his company in 1901, but it wasn’t launched until 1903. Interestingly, two of the original investors were John and Horace Dodge, who would later start up their own vehicle company. The company began in Michigan where its headquarters remain.
In the beginning, just a few vehicles were built in one day with several people working on the various parts. Ford is credited with developing the assembly line idea for work completion. Another unique feature about this company is that it is still owned today by the Ford family and has been a family-owned company for more than 100 years.
The earliest vehicles under the Ford Motor Company were known by letters. There was the Model A, along with B, C, F, and more. Several hundred or even a thousand of these vehicles were sold in a year. The most popular vehicle of that time was the Model T, which was developed in 1908. In the next 20 years, millions of these vehicles would be sold.
The Model A would replace the Model T in 1927. It became the first vehicle to have a safety glass for the windshield. The first V8 engine was built in 1932 by Ford’s company.
Ford expanded its vehicles by adding the first Mercury in 1939. It had a higher price and appealed to a different buyer. Henry Ford added to his company in 1922 by purchasing the Lincoln Motor Company. By adding Lincolns to the lineup, Ford could compete with Cadillac and other luxury brands.
The company expanded into Russia and Germany with subsidiaries that produced vehicles and helped the country’s economy and industrialization. In those early days, Ford often led the way with new ideas and innovation. For instance, Ford was the first to introduce rear seatbelts in a car and a retractable hardtop on a six-seat vehicle.
During the years, Ford established other divisions, including the Edsel division in 1958. Most of those divisions merged into Lincoln-Mercury. A major change came to Ford in 1964 when the Mustang was first introduced at the World’s Fair. Even today, this is one of the most recognizable models under the Ford brand.
The company purchased Jaguar Cars as well as Aston Martin in the 1990’s, two companies focused on the luxury market. It was later in this decade and in the 2000’s that Ford began to struggle along with the rest of the economy. In 2005, the company set a goal to return to profitability by selling off certain models that didn’t sell well and resizing.
To remain competitive, the company began to focus on crossover SUV’s, including hybrid models for greater efficiency. Ford also made the decision to reduce focus on passenger cars with the exception of the Mustang.
The Ford Lineup
Ford is planning to phase out the cars in its lineup over the next several years. The Mustang will continue to be produced while the shift will move to SUVs and trucks. The company has manufactured trucks since the early days, beginning with the Model TT. The popular F-Series started in the 1940’s and continues to be a top seller today. The F-150 is the best-selling model for the company with the Super Duty models also being a hit with buyers.
Ford recently decided to get back into the midsize truck category by reintroducing the Ford Ranger. For commercial use, the Ford Transit and Transit Connect offer versatility and performance. The Ford Explorer is one of the standouts in the SUV category. The company has expanded its SUV division with the Edge and Escape as compact SUV’s while the Expedition is the full-size version with room for up to eight people and plenty of power for towing.