Ford is probably the biggest name in the automotive world today, and has made an impact in the automotive and assembly line work in every way possible. From the early success of the Model T with new assembly line procedures, to the very popular Mustang, Ford has always been near the top of sales for American auto manufacturers.
The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford, along with the Dodge brothers, who would eventually be the founders of Dodge . This was not Henry Ford’s first automobile company. He had a previous one named Henry Ford Company, and was dissolved in 1902, and when an engineer named Henry Leland assessed the value of the inventory, he persuaded the new owners to continue the business, renaming it Cadillac.
Ford started manufacturing vehicles in 1903, starting with the Model A, up to the Model S in 1908. The famous Model T was released in 1908, and would revolutionize auto manufacturing, and manufacturing in general with the moving assembly line. Before this, autos were built by a team of 2 or 3 people, over the course of sometimes days. In it’s first full year of production, Ford was able to build 18,000 Model T’s, and by 1920 Ford production reached 1 million. Half of all cars on the road in 1920 were Model T’s.
Throughout the 1920’s, Ford lost market share to GM and Chrysler . Other auto manufacturers were rolling out new models and redesigns, and Ford was still manufacturing the same Model T. The Model T was cheap, but many buyers were looking for something different. Ford bought the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, and now had a higher end brand to sell. The Mercury brand was started in 1938 to sell mid level models.
Civilian auto manufacturing halted for World War II, and Ford factories produced the B-24 Liberator Bombers. Consolidated Aircraft had the contract before Ford, but could only produce one bomber a day. Ford was able to build one an hour, playing a pivotal role in winning the war.
Ford had success in the 1950’s with the Ford Thunderbird. Mixing performance with luxury features such as power windows, the Thunderbird was successful. The early 1960’s brought the Ford Falcon, another successful model, before the well known Mustang was released in 1965.
The Ford Mustang was one of the biggest selling cars of it’s time. Nearly one million were sold in the first 16 months of its release. The low price, sleek new styling, and the powerful V8 engines available made it a wild success, and started the pony car craze. Many consider the Mustang the first pony car, but technically the Plymouth Barracuda is the first pony car, which was released two weeks before the Mustang. The Mustang outsold the Barracuda 10 to 1.