Ford Motor Company

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Road transport

Type Public ( NYSE: F)
Founded June 17, 1903
Founder Henry Ford
Headquarters Flag of the United States Dearborn, Michigan, USA
Area served worldwide
Key people William Clay Ford, Jr - Executive Chairman
Alan Mulally - President, CEO
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles, Automotive parts
Services Automotive financing and services
Revenue US$173.9 billion (2007)
Operating income US$126 million (2007)
Net income US$(-2.665) billion (2007)
Employees 245,000 (2007)
Divisions Ford Credit
Ford division
Premier Automotive Group
Subsidiaries Automotive Components Holdings
Land Rover
Volvo (cars only)

Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation and the world's third largest automaker based on worldwide vehicle sales.

In 2007, Ford became the third-ranked automaker in US sales after General Motors and Toyota, falling from the second-ranked automaker slot for the first time in the previous 56 years. Ford was also the overall seventh-ranked American-based company in the 2007 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues in 2006 of $160.1 billion. In 2007, Ford revenues increased to $173.9 billion, while producing 6.553 million automobiles and employing about 245,000 employees at around 100 plants and facilities worldwide. Also in 2007, Ford received more quality survey awards from J. D. Power and Associates than any other automaker, with five vehicles ranking at the top of their categories, and fourteen vehicles ranked in the top three.

Based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, the automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated in June 16, 1903. Ford now encompasses many global brands, including Lincoln and Mercury of the US, Jaguar and Land Rover of the UK, and Volvo of Sweden. Ford also owns a one-third controlling interest in Mazda.

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.


Henry Ford (ca. 1919)
Henry Ford (ca. 1919)
1896 Ford Quadricycle
1896 Ford Quadricycle

Ford was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge who would later found the Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Company. During its early years, the company produced just a few 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.

Corporate governance

Members of the board as of early 2007 are: Chief Sir John Bond, Richard Manoogian, Stephen Butler, Ellen Marram, Kimberly Casiano, Alan Mulally (President and CEO), Edsel Ford II, Homer Neal, William Clay Ford, Jr., Jorma Ollila, Irvine Hockaday, Jr., John L. Thornton and William Clay Ford (Director Emeritus).

The main corporate officers are: Lewis Booth (Executive Vice President, Chairman ( PAG) and Ford of Europe), Mark Fields (Executive Vice President, President [The Americas]), Donat Leclair (Executive Vice President and CFO), Mark A. Schulz (Executive Vice President, President [International Operations]) and Michael E. Bannister (Group Vice President; Chairman & CEO Ford Motor Credit).. Paul Mascarenas (Vice President of Engineering, The Americas Product Development)

Recent company developments

During the mid to late 1990s, Ford sold large numbers of vehicles, in a booming American economy with soaring stock market and low fuel prices. With the dawn of the new century, legacy healthcare costs, higher fuel prices, and a faltering economy led to falling market shares, declining sales, and sliding profit margins. Most of the corporate profits came from financing consumer automobile loans through Ford Motor Credit Company.

By 2005, corporate bond rating agencies had downgraded the bonds of both Ford and GM to junk status , citing high U.S. health care costs for an aging workforce, soaring gasoline prices, eroding market share, and dependence on declining SUV sales for revenues. Profit margins decreased on large vehicles due to increased "incentives" (in the form of rebates or low interest financing) to offset declining demand.

In the face of falling truck and SUV sales, Ford moved to introduce a range of new vehicles, including " Crossover SUVs" built on unibody car platforms, rather than body-on-frame truck chasses. Ford also developed alternative fuel and high efficiency vehicles, such as the Escape Hybrid.. Ford announced that it will team up with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.

In December 2006, the company raised its borrowing capacity to about $25 billion, placing substantially all corporate assets as collateral to secure the line of credit . Chairman Bill Ford has stated that "bankruptcy is not an option" , but economists have stated that the company's impending contract renewal with the United Auto Workers in the summer of 2007 could be brutal. The UAW has vowed to attempt to retain the jobs banks, a system which retains idled workers on the payroll, rather than laying them off, in order to maintain contracted US employment levels.

The automaker reported the largest annual loss in company history in 2006 of $12.7 billion, and estimated that it would not return to profitability until 2009. However, Ford surprised Wall Street in the second quarter of 2007 by posting a $750 million profit. The company finished the year with a $2.7 billion loss, largely attributed to finance restructuring at Volvo.

Ford has announced plans to sell Land Rover and Jaguar, with Tata Motors being the leading prospective buyer.

"The Way Forward"

In the latter half of 2005, Chairman Bill Ford asked newly-appointed Ford Americas Division President Mark Fields to develop a plan to return the company to profitability. Fields previewed the Plan, dubbed The Way Forward, at the December 7, 2005 board meeting of the company; and it was unveiled to the public on January 23, 2006. " The Way Forward" includes resizing the company to match current market realities, dropping some unprofitable and inefficient models, consolidating production lines, and shutting fourteen factories and cutting 30,000 jobs. .

These cutbacks are consistent with Ford's roughly 25% decline in U.S. automotive market share since the mid-late 1990s. Ford's target is to become profitable again in 2009, a year later than projected. Ford's realignment also includes the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, Hertz Rent-a-Car to a private equity group for $15 billion in cash and debt acquisition. The sale was completed on December 22, 2005. A joint venture with Mahindra and Mahindra Limited of India ended with the sale of Ford's 15 percent stake in 2005.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ford also became President of the company in April 2006, with the retirement of Jim Padilla. Five months later, in September, he stepped down as President and CEO, and naming Alan Mulally as his successor. Bill Ford continues as Executive Chairman, along with an executive operating committee made up of Mulally, Mark Schulz, Lewis Booth, Don Leclair, and Mark Fields.

Brands and marques

Today, Ford Motor Company manufactures automobiles under several names including Lincoln and Mercury in the United States. In 1958, Ford introduced a new marque, the Edsel, but poor sales led to its discontinuation in 1960. Later, in 1985, the Merkur brand was introduced; it met a similar fate in 1989.

Ford has major manufacturing operations in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, the People's Republic of China, and several other countries, including South Africa where, following divestment during apartheid, it once again has a wholly owned subsidiary. Ford also has a cooperative agreement with Russian automaker GAZ.

Since 1989, Ford has acquired Aston Martin (which it sold again on March 12, 2007, but it will retain a $77 million stake in the sports car maker), Jaguar, Land Rover, from the United Kingdom and Volvo Cars from Sweden, as well as a controlling share (33.4%) of Mazda of Japan, with which it operates an American joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan called Auto Alliance. It has spun off its parts division under the name Visteon. Its prestige brands, with the exception of Lincoln, are managed through its Premier Automotive Group.

Ford's FoMoCo parts division sells aftermarket parts under the Motorcraft brand name.

Ford's non-manufacturing operations include organizations such as automotive finance operation Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford also sponsors numerous events and sports facilities around the nation, most notably Ford Centre in downtown Oklahoma City and Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

Overall the Ford Motor Company controls the following operational car marques: Daimler, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, and Volvo; Daimler, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo are currently part of the Premier Automotive Group.

Global markets

Initially, Ford models sold outside the U.S. were essentially versions of those sold on the home market, but later on, models specific to Europe were developed and sold. Attempts to globalize the model line have often failed, with Europe's Ford Mondeo selling poorly in the United States, while U.S. models such as the Ford Taurus have fared poorly in Japan and Australia, even when produced in right hand drive. The small European model Ka, a hit in its home market, did not catch on in Japan, as it was not available as an automatic. The Mondeo was dropped by Ford Australia, because the segment of the market in which it competes had been in steady decline, with buyers preferring the larger local model, the Falcon. One recent exception is the European model of the Focus, which has sold strongly on both sides of the Atlantic.

From 2003, Toyota outsold Ford Motor worldwide. . From the second quarter 2006, Toyota has passed Ford as the #2 automaker, by sales, in the United States.

The Ford Motor Company is in partnership talks to license hybrid technology from the Toyota Motor Corporation in a deal that could help establish Toyota's system as a standard for the industry.



At first, Ford in Germany and the United Kingdom built different models from one another until the late 1960s, with the Ford Escort and then the Ford Capri being common to both companies. Later on, the Ford Taunus and Ford Cortina became identical, produced in left hand drive and right hand drive respectively. Rationalization of model ranges meant that production of many models in the UK switched to elsewhere in Europe, including Belgium and Spain as well as Germany. The Ford Sierra replaced the Taunus and Cortina in 1982, drawing criticism for its radical aerodynamic styling, which was soon given nicknames such as "Jellymould" and "The Salesman's Spaceship."

Increasingly, Ford Motor Company has looked to Ford of Europe for its "world cars," such as the Mondeo, Focus, and Fiesta, although sales of European-sourced Fords in the U.S. have been disappointing. In Asia, models from Europe are not as competitively priced as Japanese-built rivals, nor are they perceived as reliable. The Focus has been one exception to this, which has become America's best selling compact car since its launch in 2000.

In February 2002, Ford ended car production in the UK. It was the first time in 90 years that Ford cars had not been made in Britain, although production of the Transit van continues at the company's Southampton facility, engines at Bridgend and Dagenham, and transmissions at Halewood. Development of European Ford is broadly split between Dunton in Essex (powertrain, Fiesta/Ka, and commercial vehicles) and Cologne (body, chassis, electrical, Focus, Mondeo) in Germany. Ford also produced the Thames range of commercial vehicles, although the use of this brand name was discontinued circa 1965. It owns the Jaguar and/or Land Rover car plants in Britain; Ford's former Halewood Assembly Plant was converted for production of the Jaguar X-Type and currently also assembles Land-Rover's Freelander 2. Jaguars are also assembled at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham while the rest of the Land-Rover range is assembled at Solihull, near Birmingham.

Elsewhere in continental Europe, Ford assembles the Mondeo range in Genk (Belgium), Fiesta in Valencia (Spain) and Cologne (Germany), Ka in Valencia, and Focus in Valencia, Saarlouis (Germany) and Vsevolozhsk (Russia). Transit production is in Kocaeli (Turkey), Southampton (UK), and Transit Connect in Kocaeli.

Ford also owns a joint-venture production plant in Turkey. Ford-Otosan, established in the 1970s, manufactures the Transit Connect compact panel van as well as the "Jumbo" and long wheelbase versions of the full-size Transit. This new production facility was set up near Kocaeli in 2002, and its opening marked the end of Transit assembly in Genk.

Another joint venture plant near Setubal in Portugal, set up in collaboration with Volkswagen, formerly assembled the Galaxy people-carrier as well as its sister ships, the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra. With the introduction of the third generation of the Galaxy, Ford has moved the production of the people-carrier to the Genk plant, with Volkswagen taking over sole ownership of the Setubal facility.

Ford Europe has broken new ground with a number of relatively futuristic car launches over the last 50 years.

Its 1959 Anglia two-door saloon was one of the most quirky-looking small family cars in Europe at the time of its launch, but buyers soon became accustomed to its looks and it was hugely popular with British buyers in particular. It was still selling well when replaced by the more practical Escort in 1967.

The third incarnation of the Ford Escort was launched in 1980 and marked the company's move from rear-wheel drive saloons to front-wheel drive hatchbacks in the small family car sector. It also offered levels of style, comfort and refinement which were almost unmatched on comparable cars of this era. It was a huge success all over Europe and it was Britain's most popular car for most of its 10-year production life.

The fourth generation Escort was produced from 1990 until 2000, although its successor - the Focus - had been on sale since 1998. On its launch, the Focus was arguably the most dramatic-looking and fine-handling small family cars on sale, and sold in huge volumes right up to the launch of the next generation Focus at the end of 2004.

The 1982 Ford Sierra - replacement for the long-running and massively popular Cortina and Taunus models - was a style-setter at the time of its launch. Its ultramodern aerodynamic design was a world away from a boxy, sharp-edged Cortina, and it was massively popular just about everywhere it was sold. A series of updates kept it looking relatively fresh until it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Mondeo at the start of 1993.

The first two incarnations of the Mondeo were well-built, refined and reliable family cars that attracted strong sales, but the third incarnation (launched in 2007) took the large family car market to new heights in terms of build quality, refinement, comfort, equipment, driver appeal and value for money.

The rise in popularity of small cars during the 1970s saw Ford enter the mini-car market in 1976 with its Fiesta hatchback. Most of its production was concentrated at Valencia in Spain, and the Fiesta sold in huge figures from the very start. An update in 1983 and the launch of an all-new model in 1989 strengthened its position in the small car market. The second generation Fiesta was significantly updated twice before an all-new model was launched in 2002, and over the years it has become more refined, spacious, better-built and more enjoyable to drive.

Asia Pacific

Ford dealership in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (August 2005)
Ford dealership in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (August 2005)

In New Zealand and Australia, the popular Ford Falcon was long considered the average family car and is considerably larger than the Mondeo, Ford's largest car sold in Europe. Between 1960 and 1972, the Falcon was based on a U.S. Ford of that name, but since then has been entirely designed and manufactured locally. Like its General Motors rival, the Holden Commodore, the 4.0 L Falcon retains rear wheel drive. High performance variants of the Falcon running locally-built engines produce up to 365 hp (272 kW). A ute (short for "utility," known in the US as pickup truck) version is also available with a similar range of drivetrains. In addition, Ford Australia sells highly-tuned Falcon sedans and utes through its performance car division, Ford Performance Vehicles. These cars produce 390 hp (291 kW) and are built in small numbers to increase their value as collectors' cars.

In Australia, the Commodore and Falcon have traditionally outsold all other cars and comprise over 20% of the new car market. In New Zealand, Ford was second in market share in the first eight months of 2006 with 14.4 per cent. This is all set to change with a shift away from local manufacturing and assembly: 2007 second quarter has seen Ford Australia cut their prestige (LWB) models and more recently, announced closure of their key engine manufacturing. This is due partly to drops in sales with stiff competition from Toyota's new Aurion and an updated Mitsubishi 380, both taking a large piece of the local family sedan market. Ford is betting on growth in small car sales with the Focus which it plans to assemble locally, and the popular Territory (Falcon-based) SUV.

Ford's presence in Asia has traditionally been much smaller. However, with the acquisition of a stake in Japanese manufacturer Mazda in 1979, Ford began selling Mazda's Familia and Capella (also known as the 323 and 626) as the Ford Laser and Telstar. The Laser was one of the most successful models sold by Ford in Australia, and outsold the Mazda 323, despite being almost identical to it. The Laser was also built in Mexico and sold in the U.S. as the Mercury Tracer, while the 1991 (and on through the end of the model in the early 2000s) American Ford Escort (and 1991-on Tracer) was based on the Laser/Mazda 323, assembled in the US and Mexico.

Through its relationship with Mazda, Ford also acquired a stake in South Korean manufacturer Kia, which built the (Mazda-based) Ford Festiva from 1988-1993, and the Ford Aspire from 1994-1997 for export to the United States, but later sold their interest to Hyundai. Kia continued to market the Aspire as the Kia Avella, later replaced by the Rio and once again sold in the US. Ironically, Hyundai also manufactured the Ford Cortina until the 1980s. Ford also has a joint venture with Lio Ho in Taiwan, which assembled Ford models locally since the 1970s.

Ford came to India in 1998 with its Ford Escort model, which was later replaced by locally produced Ford Ikon in 2001. It has since added Fusion, Fiesta, Mondeo and Endeavour to its product line.

South America

In South America, Ford has had to face protectionist government measures in each country, with the result that it built different models in different countries, without particular regard to rationalization or economy of scale inherent to producing and sharing similar vehicles between the nations. In many cases, new vehicles in a country were based on those of the other manufacturers it had entered into production agreements with, or whose factories it had acquired. For example, the Corcel and Del Rey in Brazil were originally based on Renault vehicles.

In 1987, Ford merged its operations in Brazil and Argentina with those of Volkswagen to form a company called Autolatina, with which it shared models. Sales figures and profitability were disappointing, and Autolatina was dissolved in 1995. With the advent of Mercosur, the regional common market, Ford was finally able to rationalize its product line-ups in those countries. Consequently, the Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport are only built in Brazil, and the Ford Focus only built in Argentina, with each plant exporting in large volumes to the neighboring countries. Models like the Ford Mondeo from Europe could now be imported completely built up. Ford of Brazil produces a pick-up truck version of the Fiesta, the Courier, which is also produced in South Africa as the Ford Bantam in right hand drive versions.

Africa and Middle East

In Africa Ford's market presence has traditionally been strongest in South Africa and neighboring countries, with only trucks being sold elsewhere on the continent. Ford in South Africa began by importing kits from Canada to be assembled at its Port Elizabeth facility. Later Ford sourced its models from the UK and Australia, with local versions of the Ford Cortina including the XR6, with a 3.0 V6 engine, and a Cortina 'bakkie' or pick-up, which was exported to the UK. In the mid-1980s Ford merged with a rival company, owned by Anglo American, to form the South African Motor Corporation ( Samcor).

Following international condemnation of apartheid, Ford divested from South Africa in 1988, and sold its stake in Samcor, although it licensed the use of its brand name to the company. Samcor began to assemble Mazdas as well, which affected its product line-up, which saw the European Fords like the Escort and Sierra replaced by the Mazda-based Laser and Telstar. Ford bought a 45 per cent stake in Samcor following the demise of apartheid in 1994, and this later became, once again, a wholly owned subsidiary, the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. Ford now sells a local sedan version of the Fiesta (also built in India and Mexico), and the Focus and Mondeo Europe. The Falcon model from Australia was also sold in South Africa, but was dropped in 2003.

Ford's market presence in the Middle East has traditionally been even smaller, partly due to previous Arab boycotts of companies dealing with Israel. Ford and Lincoln vehicles are currently marketed in ten countries in the region. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE are the biggest markets. Ford also established itself in Egypt in 1926, but faced an uphill battle during the 1950s due to the hostile nationalist business environment . Ford's distributor in Saudi Arabia announced in February 2003 that it had sold 100,000 Ford and Lincoln vehicles since commencing sales in November 1986. Half of the Ford/Lincoln vehicles sold in that country were Ford Crown Victorias. In 2004, Ford sold 30,000 units in the region, falling far short of General Motors' 88,852 units and Nissan Motors' 75,000 units.

Environmental record

Mulally (second from left) with President George W. Bush at the Kansas City Assembly plant in Claycomo, Missouri on March 20, 2007, touting Ford's new hybrid cars

Ford motor co. ranked 7th as one of the top corporate air polluters in the United States releasing 9.67 million pounds of toxic air and their toxic score was 244,782 in 2002. Some of the chemicals released were, Chromium 84 lb (38 kg), Formaldehyde 27042 lb (12266 kg), and Sulfuric Acid 5000 lb (2300 kg)

In 2000, under the leadership of the current Ford chairman, William Clay (Bill) Ford, the Company stunned the industry (and pleased environmentalists) with an announcement of a planned 25 percent improvement in the average mileage of its light truck fleet — including its popular SUVs — to be completed by the 2005 calendar year.

On the other hand, Ford ended the Think City experiment and ordered all the cars repossessed and destroyed, even as many of the people leasing them begged to be able to buy the cars from Ford. After outcry from the lessees and activists in the US and Norway, Ford returned the cars to Norway for sale.

In 2003, Ford announced that competitive market conditions and technological and cost challenges would prevent the company from achieving this goal. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2005 fuel economy report ranking Ford cars, trucks and SUVs as having the lowest gas milleage of any automaker in America

Ford discontinued a line of electric Ranger pickup trucks and ordered them destroyed, though it reversed in January 2005, after environmentalist protest.

Ford did achieve significant progress toward improving fuel efficiency during 2005, with the successful introduction of the Hybrid-Electric Escape. The Escape's platform mate Mercury Mariner is also available with the hybrid-electric system in the 2006 model year—a full year ahead of schedule—due to high demand. The similar Mazda Tribute will also receive a hybrid-electric powertrain option, along with many other vehicles in the Ford vehicle line. In 2005, Ford announced its goal to make 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but by mid-2006 announced that it would not meet that goal. Other hybrids to come out will be the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrid version in 2008. There are also plans for a Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX Hybrid. The Edge and MKX are Ford's new crossover SUVs to come out for the 2007 model year.

Ford also continues to study Fuel Cell-powered electric powertrains, and is currently demonstrating hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine technologies, as well as developing the next-generation hybrid-electric systems. To the extent it is successful in increasing the percentage of hybrid vehicles and/or fuel cell vehicles, there will be a significant decrease not only of air pollution emissions but also reduced sound levels, with notable favorable impacts upon respiratory health and decrease of noise health effects.

While the company's product line increasingly reflects its commitment to ecologically sustainable practices, Ford's record as a manufacturer continues to reveal problematic ones. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have listed it as the seventh-worst corporate producer of air pollution, primarily because of the manganese compounds, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and glycol ethers released from its casting, truck, and assembly plants. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has linked Ford to 54 Superfund toxic waste sites, 12 of which have been cleaned up and deleted from the list.

Alternate fuel vehicles

2006 Ford Escape Hybrid
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid
Ford Research Center Aachen
Ford Research Centre Aachen

Bill Ford was one of the first top industry executives to make regular use of an battery electric vehicle, a Ford Ranger EV, while the company contracted with the United States Postal Service to deliver electric postal vans based on the Ranger EV platform. The alternative fuel vehicles, such as some versions of the Crown Victoria especially in fleet and taxi service, operate on compressed natural gas - or CNG. Some CNG vehicles have dual fuel tanks - one for gasoline, the other for CNG - the same engine can operate on either fuel via a selector switch. Flexible fuel vehicles are designed to operate smoothly using a wide range of available fuel mixtures - from pure gasoline, to bioethanol-gasoline blends such as E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). Part of the challenge of successful marketing alternative and flexible fuel vehicles, is the general lack of establishment of sufficient fueling stations, which would be essential for these vehicles to be attractive to a wide range of consumers. Significant efforts to ramp up production and distribution of E85 fuels are underway and expanding.

Current Ford Flexible Fuel Vehicles:

  • Ford F-150
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Ford Focus / Focus C-MAX / Ford Focus FFV ( Flexible-fuel vehicle).
  • Ford Taurus
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Explorer
  • Mercury Grand Marquis
  • Lincoln Town Car

Ford was third to the automotive market with a hybrid electric vehicle: the Ford Escape Hybrid, which also represented the first hybrid electric SUV] to market and started the Ford hybrid technology . The Hybrid Escape will also be the first hybrid electric vehicle with a Flexible Fuel capability to run on E85. The company had made plans to manufacture up to 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but has since had to back down on that commitment, due to excessively high costs and the lack of sufficient supplies of the hybrid-electric batteries and drivetrain system components. Instead, Ford has committed to accelerating development of next-generation hybrid-electric power plants in Britain, in collaboration with Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. This engineering study is expected to yield more than 100 new hybrid-electric vehicle models and derivatives.

Ford is also planning to produce 250,000 E85-capable vehicles a year in the US, adding to some 1.6 million already sold in the last 10 years.

Ford also has launched the production of hydrogen-powered shuttle buses, using hydrogen instead of gasoline in a standard internal combustion engine, for use at airports and convention centers. At the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showcased a hydrogen fuel cell version of its Explorer SUV. The Fuel cell Explorer has a combined output of 174 hp (130 kW). It has a large hydrogen storage tank which is situated in the centre of the car taking the original place of the conventional model’s automatic transmission. The centered position of the tank assists the vehicle reach a notable range of 350 miles (563 km), the farthest for a fuel cell vehicle so far. The fuel cell Explorer the first in a series of prototypes partly funded by the United States Department of Energy to expand efforts to determine the feasibility of hydrogen- powered vehicles. The fuel cell Explorer is one of several vehicles with green technology Ford being featured at the L.A. show, including the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, PZEV emissions compliant Fusion and Focus models and a 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty outfitted with Ford's clean diesel technology.

Ford announced on 2007-07-09 that it will team up with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.

Current and planned Ford hybrid electric vehicles:

  • 2004– Ford Escape Hybrid
  • 2006– Mercury Mariner
  • 2008– Ford Fusion/ Mercury Milan
  • 2009– Ford Edge/ Lincoln MKX

Auto racing


NASCAR Ford Fusion race car
NASCAR Ford Fusion race car

Ford is one of four manufacturers in the three NASCAR series: Nextel Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck Series. Major teams include Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing. Ford's racing teams debuted the Fusion race car, replacing the Taurus at the 2006 Daytona 500. Some of the most successful NASCAR Fords were the aerodynamic fastback Ford Torino and Mercury Montegos, and the aero-era Ford Thunderbirds.

Formula One

Rubens Barrichello driving for the Stewart Grand Prix team in 1997
Rubens Barrichello driving for the Stewart Grand Prix team in 1997

Ford was heavily involved in Formula One for many years, and supplied engines to a large number of teams from 1967 until 2004. These engines were designed and manufactured by Cosworth, the racing division that was owned by Ford from 1998 to 2004. Ford-badged engines won 176 Grands Prix between 1967 and 2003 for teams such as Team Lotus and McLaren. Ford entered Formula One as a constructor in 2000 under the Jaguar Racing name, after buying the Stewart Grand Prix team which had been its primary 'works' team in the series since 1997. Jaguar achieved little success in Formula One, and after a turbulent five seasons, Ford withdrew from the category after the 2004 season, selling both Jaguar Racing (which became Red Bull Racing) and Cosworth (to Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven).


Marcus Grönholm driving the Ford Focus RS WRC 06 in 2006.
Marcus Grönholm driving the Ford Focus RS WRC 06 in 2006.

Ford has a long history in rallying and has been active in the World Rally Championship since the beginning of the world championship, the 1973 season. Ford took the 1979 manufacturers' title with Hannu Mikkola, Björn Waldegård and Ari Vatanen driving the Ford Escort RS1800. In the Group B era, Ford achieved success with Ford RS200. Since the 1999 season, Ford has used various versions of the Ford Focus WRC to much success. In the 2006 season, BP-Ford World Rally Team secured Ford its second manufacturers' title, with the Focus RS WRC 06 built by M-Sport and driven by Flying Finns Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen. Continuing with Grönholm and Hirvonen, Ford successfully defended the manufacturers' world championship in the 2007 season. Ford is the only manufacturer to score in the points for 92 consecutive races; since the 2002 season opener Monte Carlo Rally.

Sports cars

Ford sports cars have always been visible in the world of endurance racing. Most notably the GT40 won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in the 1960s and still stands today as one of the all-time greatest racing cars. The GT40 is the only American car to ever win overall at Le Mans.

Ford won the manufacturers title in 2005 in the Grand-Am Cup series with the FR500C Mustang race car.

Touring cars

Ford has campaigned touring cars such as the Focus, Falcon, and Contour/ Mondeo and the Sierra Cosworth in many different series throughout the years. Notably, the Mondeo finished 1,2,3 in the British Touring Car Championship in 2000, and the Falcon finished 1,2,3 in the Australian V8 Supercar Series in 2005.


Ford is the sole engine provider in the Champ Car series. The engines are manufactured by Cosworth. In the Indianapolis 500, Ford powered racing cars won 17 times between 1965 and 1996. Ford has a storied history in the Trans-Am series from the 1970s through today, having won many championships and races with its Ford Mustang. Ford has also branched out into drifting with the introduction of the new model mustang. Most noticeable is the Tourqoise and Blue Falken Tires Mustang driven by Vaughn Gittin Jr, A.K.A. "JR". with 750 RWHP (Rear Wheel Horsepower). In drag racing, John Force has piloted his Drag Ford Mustang to several NHRA funny-car titles in recent seasons. Formula Ford, a formula for single-seater cars without wings and originally on road tires were conceived in 1966 in the UK as an entry-level formula for racing drivers. Many of today's racing drivers started their car racing careers in this category.

Ford trucks

1961 Ford H-Series trucks
1961 Ford H-Series trucks
1939 Ford pick-up truck
1939 Ford pick-up truck

Ford has produced trucks since 1908. Countries where Ford commercial vehicles are or were made include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (badged Mercury too), France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Philippines, Spain (badged Ebro too), Turkey, UK (badged also Fordson and Thames) and USA.

Most of all these ventures are now extinct. The European one that lasted longer was the lorries arm of Ford of Britain, that was eventually sold to Iveco group in 1986, and whose last significant models were the Transcontinental and the Cargo.

In the USA, Ford's heavy trucks division (Classes 7 and 8) was sold in 1997 to Freightliner, now part of DaimlerChrysler, that rebranded it as Sterling. Ford continues building medium class trucks with the F-650 and F-750 and recently introduced the LCF series similar in design to the Ford Cargo trucks of the past.

Bus products

Ford has manufactured buses in the company's early history, but most Ford buses are built on Ford chassis by other manufacturers:

School Bus
  • Ford Transit bus van
  • Ford Minibus using F450 chassis
  • Ford Minibus using E350 (formerly Econoline 350)
  • Ford E450 Super Duty minibus
  • Ford Class C School Bus using B600, B700, B800 chassis
  • Ford MB IV 100, 100A, 200, 200C Super Duty

' Commercial Buses

  • Ford MBC IV200
  • Ford MBC IV 200C
  • Ford MBC IV 300
  • Ford MBC IV IV 300D
  • Ford MBC II 800

Manufacturers using Ford E-series bodies include:

Commercial Bus
  • Ford Specialty Trolley
Transit/Suburban Bus
  • Ford G997
  • Ford R1014
  • Ford Trader
  • Ford Hawke
  • Ford ET7 with Casha bodywork
  • Ford 19B, 29B
  • Ford 72B
  • Ford ET7 Aqualina

Clients include:

  • Toronto Transportation Commission
  • Kitchener Transit
  • Hamilton Street Railway

Ford Tractors

The "Henry Ford and Son Company" began making Fordson tractors in Henry's hometown of Springwells (later part of Dearborn, Michigan from 1907 to 1928, from 1919 to 1932, at Cork, Ireland and 1933-1964 at Dagenham, England. They were also produced in Leningrad beginning in 1924.

In 1986, Ford expanded its tractor business when it purchased the Sperry-New Holland skid-steer loader and hay baler, hay tools and implement company from Sperry Corporation and formed Ford-New Holland which bought out Versatile tractors in 1988. This company was bought by Fiat and the name changed from Ford New Holland to New Holland. New Holland is now part of CNH Global.


Ford had non-automotive interests, as well, and owned the Philco home appliance company. Philco manufactured radios for Ford autos. See the Philco page for more information.


Throughout its history, the company has faced a wide range of criticisms. Some have accused the early Fordist model of production of being exploitative, and Ford has been criticized as being willing to collaborate with dictatorships or hire mobs to intimidate union leaders and increase their profits through unethical means.

Ford refused to allow collective bargaining until 1941, with the Ford Service Department being set up as an internal security, intimidation, and espionage unit within the company, and quickly gained a reputation of using violence against union organizers and sympathizers.

Ford was also criticized for wearing down Firestone tires during driving, which caused many wrecks during a short time period in 2003. Many people were injured and killed due to the wearing down of the tires. Although Firestone received most of the blame, some blame fell on Ford, which advised customers to under-inflate the tires.

Alleged Nazi collaboration

Other accusations were that the company collaborated with the German Nazi regime and relied on Germany. The German Ford company used slave labor in Cologne between 1941 and 1945 and that it had produced military vehicles such as jeeps, planes, and ships used by a fascist regime. Many of these allegations were made in a series of United States lawsuits in 1998. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1999 because the judge concluded "the issues...concerned international treaties between nations and foreign policy and were thus in the realm of the executive branch."

Detractors point to Henry Ford's outspoken antisemitism, including his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem". Ford did not personally write "The International Jew", and later retracted it. They also point to the fact that in 1938, four months after the German annexation of Austria, Ford accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the Nazi regime's highest honour for foreigners before the outbreak of the war, as the only American ever to be given the award..

Defenders of the company argue that the Ford German division, Fordwerke, had been taken over by the Nazi government after it rose to power, claiming that it was not under the company's control, though Henry Ford, according to court records, did stay in touch with the company. Although Ford's initial motivations were anti-war, the company was heavily involved in the war effort after the outbreak of war.

Argentine "Dirty War"

Ford's Argentine subsidiary was accused of collaborating with the Argentine 1976-1983 military dictatorship, actively helping in the political repression of intellectuals and dissidents that was pursued by said government. No result was proven and the company denied the allegations.

In a lawsuit initiated in 1996 by relatives of some of the estimated 600 Spanish citizens who disappeared in Argentina during the " Dirty War", evidence was presented to support the allegation that much of this repression was directed by Ford and the other major industrial firms. According to a 5,000-page report, Ford executives drew up lists of "subversive" workers and handed them over to the military task-forces which were allowed to operate within the factories. These groups were allegedly kidnapped, tortured and murdered workers - at times allegedly within the plants themselves. The company denied the allegations.

In a second trial, a report brought by the CTA, and the testimonies of former Ford workers themselves, claimed that the company's Argentine factory was used between 1976 and 1978 as a detention centre, and that management allowed the military to set up its own bunker inside the plant. The company denied the allegations.

The Ford Pinto Memo

In September 1971 the Ford Motor Company launched the Pinto for the North American market. Through early production of this model it emerged that design flaws could result in fuel tank explosions when the vehicle was subject to a rear-end collision. Some sources even allege this safety data was available to Ford prior to production, but was ignored for economic reasons . Either way, a major scandal followed with the leaking to San Francisco magazine Mother Jones of the notorious "Ford Pinto Memo", an internal Ford cost-benefit analysis showing that the cost of implementing design changes to the subcompact's fuel system was greater than the economic cost of the burn injuries and deaths that could be prevented by doing so. Subsequently some have played down the importance of this case as Pinto explosion fatality estimates range widely from 27 to 900, with the lowest figures being allegedly in line with comparable fatality statistics for other car models. Nevertheless, the affair is an infamous example of a big corporation putting profit before human life because one senior Ford executive, at the time of the memo, is alleged to have written of his Pinto customers: it's "cheaper to let them burn" .

In the related Ford Pinto product liability case Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal. App. 3d 757 (4th Dist. 1981) the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District reviewed Ford's conduct and upheld compensatory damages of $2.5 million and punitive damages of $3.5 million against Ford. Of the two plaintiffs, one was killed in the collision that caused her Pinto to explode, and her passenger, 13-year old Richard Grimshaw, was badly burned and scarred for life.

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