Ford Motor Company
|Ford Motor Company
|Detroit, Michigan, US
|Ford Motor Credit, Hertz
The Ford Motor Company is an automobile and truck maker, founded by Henry Ford in Detroit (Michigan, US), and incorporated in 1903. Ford radically reformed the methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars, and large-scale management of an industrial workforce.
- Ford Motor Credit a company for automobile financing, leasing and insurance.
- Hertz corporation, which is the world's largest car rental company, with 1900 locations in the United States and 5100 worldwide.
Ford builds for the following automobile brands:
- Land Rover
- Aston Martin
Today, Ford Motor Company manufactures automobiles under the highly-recognized Lincoln and Mercury brand names. In 1958, Ford introduced a new marque, the Edsel, but poor sales lead to its discontinuation in 1960. Later, in 1986, the Merkur brand was released, but met a similar fate in 1988.
Ford has major manufacturing operations in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and several other countries, including South Africa, where following divestment during apartheid, it once again has a wholly-owned subsidiary. It also has a joint venture with Mahindra in India.
Ford also has a cooperative agreement with GAZ. In recent years Ford has acquired Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo Cars and Land Rover, as well as a controlling share of Mazda, with which it operates an American joint venture plant 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 non-manufacturing operations include organizations in the financial services (Ford Credit) and automobile rental (Hertz) businesses.
Initially, Ford models sold outside the US were essentially versions of those sold on the home market, but later on there were vast differences between those sold in the US and those sold in Europe. The divergence in product tastes is such that European models like the Ford Mondeo have fared poorly in the US, while US models such as the Ford Taurus have fared poorly in Japan and Australia, even 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. The Focus has been one exception, which has sold strongly on both sides of the Atlantic, despite its European design.
Initially, 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. Rationalisation 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 US have been disappointing, and 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 2001, Ford ended car production in the UK and it was the first time in more than 80 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 Transit) and Merkenich ( 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 Land Rover car plants in Britain which are still operational. Ford's Halewood Assembly Plant was converted to Jaguar production.
Elsewhere in Continental Europe, Ford assembles the Mondeo range in its Belgian facility in Genk (where a Transit production line was also maintained until 2003), while Fiesta/Ka assembly takes place in the Valencia plant in Spain. The Saarlouis and Cologne plants in Germany take responsibility for European assembly of the Focus.
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 Koeceli 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 assembles the Galaxy people carrier as well as its sister ship the VW Sharan.
In Australia and New Zealand, the Ford Falcon is one of the most popular family cars, being considerably larger than the Mondeo sold in Europe. Originally the Falcon was based on a US Ford of that name, but is now vastly different, still having rear wheel drive, like its General Motors rival, the Holden Commodore.
Ford's presence in Asia has traditionally been much smaller, but 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, ironically, outsold the Mazda 323. The Laser was also built in Mexico and sold in the US as the Mercury Tracer, while the 1989 US Ford Escort was based on the Laser/Mazda 323. The smaller Mazda 121 was also sold in the US and Asia as a Ford Festiva.
Through its relationship with Mazda, Ford also acquired a stake in South Korean manufacturer Kia, which later built the Ford Aspire for export to the US, but later sold the company to Hyundai. 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.
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, with no rationalisation or economies of scale. In some cases, it based its models on those of other manufacturers whose plants it had taken over. For example, the Corcel and Del Rey in Brazil were originally based on Renaults. In the 1980s, Ford merged its operations in Brazil and Argentina with those Volkswagen to form a company called Autolatina, with which it shared models.
Autolatina was dissolved in the 1990s, and with the advent of Mercosur, the regional common market, Ford was able to rationalise its product line-ups in those countries. Consequently, the Ford Fiesta is only built in Brazil, and the Ford Focus only built in Argentina, with each plant exporting in large volumes to the neighbouring country. Models like the Ford Mondeo from Europe could now be imported completely built up. Ford in Brazil produces a pick-up version of the Fiesta, which is also produced in South Africa, in right hand drive as the Ford Bantam.
Africa and Middle East
In Africa and the Middle East, Ford's market presence has traditionally been strongest in South Africa and neighbouring 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 the Arab boycott of companies dealing with Israel, although US Fords are now sold in Saudi Arabia.
- Ford Vehicles Home Page
- Ford Performance Products
- FordForums.com - a fan forum enthusiast page
- Ford-forums.com, another fan forum enthusiast page
- Blueovalnews.com a fan information site
- FORDMUSCLE.COM - Webmagazine. Tech Content for Power