When was The First Ford car made? In the early morning of June 4, 1896, Henry Ford made his first trial run in a small, four-wheeled vehicle he called a “Quadricycle,” subsequently described by historian Allan Nevins as “Strikingly small and light – the lightest vehicle of its type yet produced.” This Quadricycle had 49-inch wheelbase and was 79 inches long overall. It was only 45 inches wide and 43 inches high. For the 32-year-old inventor, the Quadricycle’s successful first outing was the result of the inventiveness, determination and hard work that later earned him the title of “genius of the automotive industry.”
Three giants – steel, oil and railways – set the stage for Henry Ford and the beginnings of motor transportation. In 1864, a year after Mr. Ford’s birth, the open-hearth process was developed and the modern age of steel began. The following year, the oil industry laid the first stretch of pipelines in the Allegheny River Valley. In 1869, the American continent was linked from east to west by the railway.
When was The First Ford car made?
Ford Motor Company, American automotive corporation founded in 1903 by Henry Ford and 11 associate investors. In 1919 the company was reincorporated, with Ford, his wife, Clara, and his son, Edsel, acquiring full ownership; they, their heirs, and the Ford Foundation (formed 1936) were sole stockholders until January 1956, when public sale of the common stock was first offered.
The company manufactures passenger cars and trucks as well as automotive parts and accessories. It has been one of the most successful automotive brands in marketing history. Headquarters are in Dearborn, Michigan.
Early history: Model T and assembly line
Henry Ford built his first experimental car in a workshop behind his home in Detroit in 1896. After formation of the Ford Motor Company, the first Ford car, the original Model A, was assembled at the Mack Avenue plant in July 1903.
Five years later, in 1908, the highly successful Model T was introduced. Demand for this car was so great that Ford developed new mass production methods in order to manufacture it in sufficient quantities. In 1911 he established the industry’s first U.S. branch assembly plant (in Kansas City, Missouri) and opened the company’s first overseas production plant (in Manchester, England); in 1913 he introduced the world’s first moving assembly line for cars; and in 1914, to further improve labour productivity, he introduced the $5 daily wage for an eight-hour day (replacing $2.34 for a nine-hour day). Assembly-line production allowed the price of the Model T touring-car version to be lowered from $850 in 1908 (equivalent to about 18 months salary for an average wage) to less than $300 in 1925 (equivalent to about 4 months salary for an average wage).
The company’s first international sales branch opened in Paris in 1908. By mid-1914 there were more than 500,000 Model Ts on the roads of the world, by 1923 the company was producing more than half of America’s automobiles, and by the end of the 1920s Ford had more than 20 overseas assembly plants in Europe, Latin America, Canada, Asia, South Africa, and Australia.
The Ford had become the world’s most familiar make of car, with 15 million Model Ts having been produced. In 1927 the last Model T and the first new Model A were produced, followed in 1932 by the first Ford V-8. In 1922 Ford had acquired the Lincoln Motor Company (founded 1917), which would produce Ford’s luxury Lincolns and Continentals. In 1938 Ford introduced the first Mercury, a car in the medium price range between Ford and Lincoln.
Reorganization and expansion
As early as 1906 Henry Ford had acquired 58.5 percent of the company’s stock, and, when the other stockholders balked at the idea of building the giant (and expensive) River Rouge plant in Dearborn, he bought them out; Edsel Ford (1893–1943) became president (1919). In 1942 the Ford Motor Company stopped production of civilian cars to concentrate on building cars, planes, and tanks for the U.S. military.
On Edsel’s death in 1943, Henry Ford returned to the presidency, but in 1945 he turned it over to his grandson, Henry Ford II, who reorganized the company’s tangled system of financial management and reinvigorated its corporate culture by hiring talented younger managers—such as Robert McNamara, who was briefly president of Ford before leaving to become secretary of defense in 1961. Under Henry Ford II’s leadership, the company introduced such models as the Thunderbird (1954) and the Mustang (1964).
However, the failed introduction of the Edsel (model years 1958–60), which was so disastrous that “Edsel” became a slang synonym for fiasco, occurred amid these successes. Henry Ford II guided the company as chief executive officer (1945–70) and chairman of the board (1960–80).
In the 1950s and ’60s the Ford Motor Company began limited diversification, such as in its purchase of the electronics company Philco in 1961, but by the 1990s it had refocused attention on its automotive concerns and financial services. In 1989–90 Ford acquired Jaguar, a British manufacturer of luxury cars.
Aston Martin became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1993. Later acquisitions included the rental car company Hertz Corporation in 1994, the automobile division of Volvo in 1999, and the Land Rover brand of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in 2000. Ford also purchased a significant share of the Mazda Motor Corporation.
However, as Ford struggled in the early 21st century, it began selling these brands. Ford sold Hertz in 2005 and Aston Martin in 2007. It sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors Ltd. of India in 2008. Ford started selling its Mazda shares in 2008 and completely divested in 2015.
Ford in the 21st century
In December 2008 U.S. Pres. George W. Bush announced an emergency financial rescue plan to aid the “Big Three” automakers—Chrysler LLC, General Motors Corporation, and Ford—to prevent the collapse of the country’s struggling auto industry. The plan made immediately available $13.4 billion in government loans from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), a $700 billion fund approved by Congress to aid the financial industry following the subprime mortgage crisis.
The loans would allow the auto companies to continue operating through March 2009, when they were required to demonstrate “financial viability” or return the money. An additional stipulation required the companies to undergo restructuring. The money was initially made available to General Motors and Chrysler. Ford purportedly possessed adequate funds to continue operations and, thus, did not immediately require government relief.
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