History of the brand

Ford was founded in 1903 with $28,000 contributed by up to a total of twelve investors, including the mythical Henry Ford. This would be done with a total of 25.5% of the shares, assuming the positions of vice-president and chief engineer. In the beginning the company produced a few cars a day in its modest factory. 1908 marked a before and after in Ford. By then Henry Ford was president and owner of the brand. That year was built the first Ford T, the first car produced in series and with a fairly low price. Its success was such that the company had to relocate soon after in order to meet the production demand of the model.

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By 1913 Ford had developed all the basic assembly line and mass production techniques. Ford created the world’s first mobile production line that year, which reduced chassis assembly time considerably. In 1919 Henry Ford took full control of the company after acquiring all of the company’s shares. That same year Henry Ford’s son, Edsel Ford, assumed the presidency of the brand.

1920 was the beginning of a rather difficult decade for Ford. It was a company that tried to keep prices low through efficient engineering processes, but was penalised by using a management system that was too personalised and out of date. Ford was gradually losing market share to General Motors and Chrysler. On February 4, 1922, they tried to give a blow of effect by acquiring Lincoln Motor Company, a brand with which they hoped to make a niche in the luxury segment.

If the previous decade had had problems, the 1930s were not going to be free of obstacles. During the Great Depression, Ford had to reduce the number of units produced and lay off workers. By 1932 the unemployment rate in Detroit was close to 30%. Henry Ford’s policies were not well received by society, which put him in serious difficulty before the media. In 1938 the Mercury division was established, targeting the mid-market segment.

With the onset of the Second World War, Ford became involved in military tasks. Henry Ford was a declared pacifist and thought that the war was a waste of time, although he did not stop collaborating with both sides, helping both the allies and the Germans. The situation changed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Henry Ford became an active part of the Allied and German efforts. For the former he helped in the construction of airplanes, for the latter he supplied huge quantities of trucks. In 1943, after the death of his son Edsel, Henry Ford again assumed the presidency of the company, although in 1945 he resigned in favor of his grandson Henry Ford II. Henry Ford died on 7 April 1947 at the age of 83.

Henry Ford II was president from 1945 to 1960, and delegated council from 1960 to 1980. In the post-war period there has been little movement in the company, with some stability and few setbacks.

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