Ford: story of success

Ford: story of success


The company, without which it is impossible to imagine modern mechanical engineering, has not always been successful and popular in the world. A controversial CEO of the corporation, ineffective management decisions and the proximity to bankruptcy - this is how Ford Motors survived the 20th century.


Henry Ford

Speaking about one of the pillars of the auto world, it is worth starting with a person whose surname still flaunts on the logos of this American brand.

Henry Ford was born to Irish immigrants in 1863. The family of the future industrial tycoon lived in the outskirts of Detroit. At the age of 16, young Ford ran away from home and went to conquer the city. Here he got a job at the Edison Electrical Company and rose from junior mechanical engineer to chief engineer. In his free time, Henry Ford did not forget about his hobbies: modeling and inventions. Already in 1893 he managed to assemble his first car.

Attraction to the auto industry greatly influenced his future life. From 1899 to 1902, he was a co-owner of the Detroit Auto Company, but in 1903 he pulled out the assets and founded his own. This is how the "Ford Motor" appeared.

The contradictory personality of the owner of the company has repeatedly caused fierce controversy in society. One of the most striking and radical decisions of Ford was to increase the salaries of factory workers. He raised the minimum wage to $ 5 a day, which is roughly the current $ 118. Privileges unheard of at that time, however, were not given to everyone. Since Ford himself believed that in this way the company shares the profits with employees, they, in turn, had to follow certain rules. The company discouraged alcohol abuse, gambling, violation of family obligations, and so on. There was even a special department that monitored the decency of ordinary workers. Such norms, by the way, existed until 1922, until Ford recognized them as excessive and not in keeping with the spirit of the times.

The increase in salaries played into the hands of the company. The turnover of personnel almost disappeared, only the most qualified personnel settled in the factories, who were effectively lured away from competitors. In addition, high salaries spurred purchasing power, which had a positive impact on the economy as a whole.

The next important step towards the formation of the company was the reduction of the working week, first to 6, and then to 5 days. Moreover, the work shifts were also reorganized. Instead of two shifts of 9 hours, the factories began to work around the clock: 3 shifts of 8 hours each. This not only accelerated the production of cars, but also created additional jobs.

In the 1930s, Ford handed over the reins of the company to his son Edsel. However, after the death of the latter in 1943, he returned to his post. Finally, Henry Ford was able to relinquish leadership only in 1945, having transferred powers to the eldest grandson, Henry Ford II. And two years later, in 1947, the auto tycoon died in his home at the age of 83.

Factories and modernization

Founded in 1903, the company began its activity with the release of the Ford A. However, the real success and popularity came to the manufacturer only in 1908, when the Ford T entered the market. This legendary car brought impressive profits and in many ways secured the future of the company.

In 1910, Ford builds the best factory at the time. Lighting and ventilation have been completely redesigned here to create optimal working conditions. Experiments on the implementation of the assembly line method began here, and the results were not long in coming. The technical processes previously performed by one worker were divided among several, each of which was responsible for a specific operation. The automatism of actions and the speed of supplying parts made it possible to reduce the production of the main components of cars by several times. After several months of experimenting to get used to the new system, the assembly time of the Model T was reduced by almost 6 times. Instead of 12 hours, workers now spent only 2, and sometimes even less.

The success of the new system led to the introduction of conveyors throughout Henry Ford's factories. After some time, the height of the assembly belt rose to the waist, and at the same time, the engineers built another one - for short workers.

The factories tested everything they could: from the location of workers to the installation of toolboxes. Everything was aimed at achieving maximum comfort and speed. The belt and conveyors were synchronized so that parts and tools were delivered to assemblers exactly when they were needed. Through constant improvement, Henry brought the idea of mass production to life. The “bare” chassis at the beginning of the conveyor was overgrown with details until a new car left the factory on its own. The automatism of workers and the speed of the cycle increased so much that the cars left the assembly line every 10 seconds. Ford produced 2 million Model Ts a year and sold them for as little as $ 260, which was an extremely budget proposition at the time.

Ford and wartime.

Both Henry himself and his business had the share to catch both world wars. At the beginning of World War I, Ford gathered a group of activists and went to Europe to promote the ideas of pacifism and campaign for an early end to the bloodshed. Contrary to expectations, he did not receive a warm welcome, was ridiculed by European newspapers and returned to the United States. In the spring of 1917, Ford was re-equipping the factories to fulfill government military contracts. It is not known for certain whether the journalists' words touched him so much, or the rethinking of values came by itself, nevertheless, the factories regularly produced gas masks, helmets, and at the end of the war it even came to tanks and submarines.

Perhaps one of the most controversial moments in the manufacturer's biography, which had a significant impact on world history, was his passion for anti-Semitism. Articles of the newspaper, which Ford became the owner almost immediately after the end of the First World War, pamphlets and the book "International Jewry" were actively used for Nazi propaganda. In addition, Ford provided substantial material support to the National Socialist Workers' Party of Germany, which was led by Hitler. In one of the Fuehrer's offices there was even a portrait of Henry, whom the German leader called his ideological inspirer. Needless to say, the nightmarish events of the middle of the 20th century were largely due to Henry's careless statements, for which he apologized back in 1927?

Of course, such a development of the situation could not be predicted, but with the beginning of World War II, Ford's plant in occupied France produced cars for the needs of the Wehrmacht. At that time, this was the only way to avoid confiscation. At the same time, American factories were actively producing military equipment for the States and delivering supplies to the allies under a lend-lease agreement.

Company acquisitions and economic performance

Throughout its history, Ford Motor Company has grown steadily and absorbed smaller manufacturers. In 1992 she acquired the Lincoln brand, in 1939 she founded her own brand, Mercury. After the death of Henry Ford, when the heirs were in charge of the company, the concern bought out the English company Aston Martin (James Bond most often drove to the cinema with this particular brand). Jaguar was added to the list in 1990, Volvo in 1999, and Land Rover in 2000.

For a long time being a world leader in the automotive industry, the company did not pay due attention to its economic performance, but in vain. Already in the mid-2000s of the XXI century, Ford Motor faced growing competition in Europe, and Asian manufacturers began to actively develop the market. The company began to lose profit, and at some point it became unprofitable at all.

In 2006, Alan Mulally became the president of the company. His managerial qualities came in handy. Largely thanks to his active domestic policy, Ford continues to exist to this day. The first thing the new Gender did was to sell all the unprofitable divisions such as Aston Martin, Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar. The Mercury brand was liquidated in 2010. It seems that all the achievements of the last century were lost, but the proceeds were used by Mulally to restructure and launch a new strategy "One Ford", which implies the production of cars for the entire world market, and not for a separate region.

Drastic and tough measures have been effective. Already in 2009, the company's net profit amounted to $ 2 billion, while 2008 ended with a net loss of $ 14.7 billion. The company's revenue slightly decreased immediately after the sale of all divisions, but in the bottom line there was a monstrous growth.

The lineup of the company is represented by both passenger cars and special equipment, in particular, in the USA it produces the famous school buses. Cars with an oval silver-blue logo are reliable and excellent in performance. Today Ford remains one of the most popular American car brands. There is a wide selection of models from this manufacturer on our site, try to rent one of them and see the driving performance and get a new driving experience.

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