100 years of Ford History

1903 - 1923

 

 

 

 

 

1903
June 16, Henry Ford and 11 investors sign the Articles of Incorporation for his car company. The cars would be built in a converted wagon factory on Mach Avenue in Detroit.

1903
July 20, Ford Motor Company sells its first car, a Model A, to a Detroit physician.

1903
The Ford Model A is advertised as "The Boss of the Road". For $850 Americans can purchase the 110.5 cubic inch eight horsepower Ford.

1903
First dealership opens in San Francisco.

1903
First President was not Henry Ford. The distinction goes to a man named John S Gray, a Detroit banker who was one of the companies original investors' He was president from 1903-06.

1904
Barely more than a year after its 1st global step, Ford Motor Company of Canada opens in Ontario in August 1904.

1907
Ford Motor Company expanded to Spain.

1908
Oct 1, Ford introduces the Model T (destined to be one of the world's most popular cars).

In the 19 years of the Model T's existence 15,500,000 were sold in US, almost 1,000,000 more in Canada and 250,000 in Great Britian a production total amounting to half the automobile output in the world. The Model T was the chief instrument of one of the greatest and most rapid changes in the lives of common people in history, it contributed to the development of urbanisation and highway systems.

The cost of a Model-T decreased over the years 1910-11 $780 / 1911-12 $690 / 1912-13 $600 / 1913-14 $550 / 1914-15 $360.

1908
Ford Motor Company opens its' first overseas sales branch in Paris. Within 10 years the company is selling throughout Europe/SA and Asia.

1911
Assembly begins in Kansas City Assembly Plant.

1911
Fords' first overseas assembly plant opened in Manchester, England.

1913
Oct 7, the world's first moving automobile assembly line begins operation at Ford's Highland Park (Michigan) Plant.

1913
Ford Motor Company global signs contracts to sell Model T in China, Indonesia, Siam and Dutch East Indies.

1913
Assembly line, mass production and economies of scale helps Model T production meet demand. Innovations that influenced the very structure of society.

1914
June 5, the $5 pay for eight-hour day announced at Model T Plant in Highland Park (replacing $2.34 for nine hours); attracts thousands of job applicants.

1915
Dec 10, the one-millionth Ford car was built.

1916
Ford Motor Company opened plant in Buenos Aires.

1916
Henry Ford Hospital admits its first patients.

1917
Sept 4, Henry Ford II was born to Eleanor and Edsel Ford.

1917
Production begins on the one ton Model T chassis. Ford's first pickup truck.

1918
Ford aids the war effort by supplying troops with cars and trucks.

1918
Rouge River Plant, "Ford's industrial masterpiece" opens and reaches full capacity by mid 1920s. 1.5 miles long by .75 miles wide. "Here is the conversion of raw materials into cash in approximately 33 hours". A super factory, all in one industrial complex.

1919
Jan 1, Edsel Ford succeeds Henry Ford as company president.

1919
Ford Motor Company becomes the sole property of the Ford family.

1920
Ford Motor Company bought Detroit-Toledo-Ironton railroad to provide transport for materials and supplies.

1923-1943

 

 

 

1920s
Safety has long been a concern of Ford Motor Company, starting with its production of safety glass for windshields.

1924
Ford opens a 310-acre factory in Dagenham, a town in Essex, the location close to the River Thames offers major advances. In its 71-year history this manufacturing giant produced 10,980,368 cars, trucks and tractors.

1925
Ford builds its ten millionth Model T.

1925
Mar 14, Birth of William Clay Ford .

1925
Ford Japan formed in Yokohama; this was closed in WWII.

1925
In early days of aviation, pilots navigated only by map and compass and often had difficulty identifying the towns which they were flying over. Edsel Ford wrote to all Ford dealers in December, asking them to print the name of their towns on the roofs of their dealerships along with an arrow pointing North.

1925-31
To promote commercial aviation reliability and safety, Ford Motor Company sponsored annual National Air Tours.

1926
Ford introduced the Tri Motor Aircraft, called the "Tin Goose", increasing the use of commercial aviation.

1926
One of Ford's most important European facilities was set up in Germany. This was known as the Cologne Plant.

1927
May 28, Henry and Edsel Ford drive the 15-millionth Model T off the assembly line at Highland Park, officially ending Model T production. Total the world production of Model T reaching 15,458,781. The legendary Tin Lizzy remained sales leader until 1972.

1927
Oct 27, production of a new Model A begins at Rouge Assembly Plant. The Model A replaces Model T as Ford's sole offering.

1929
Oct 21, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison dedicate the Edison Institute (now called Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village) in Dearborn, Michigan, on the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the electric light.

1932
V Shaped flathead 8 cylinder engine introduced. Ford was not the first to create the V8 engine. They were however the first car manufacturer to successfully cast the engine block in one piece and mass-produce it.

1935
May 16, Ford Rotunda opens in Dearborn. Built for 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair. It took 18 months to dismantle and rebuild as a visitor centre.

1936
Ford Motor Company of New Zealand opens.

1940-45
War time production: Vehicles 10,423.
Assembly and filling of 5,720,532 hand grenades
1,205,400 2" and 3" mortar bombs.

1941
Ford phases out running boards, increasing room for front seat passengers.

1941
Mar 1, Ford builds first general purpose (GP or "jeep") vehicle for US military at Rouge Plant.

1942
World War II halts civilian car output; Ford shifts to total military production.

1943 - 1963

 

 

 

 

1943
May 26, Edsel Ford dies at age 49.

1943
June 1, Henry Ford re-elected company president.

1944
April 10, Henry Ford II elected executive vice president.

1945
June 28, last B-24 Liberator bomber built at Willow Run Plant. (Ford US built 8,600 bombers, 278,000 jeeps "Blitz buggies" and 57,000 aircraft engines).

1945
July 3, Ford resumes production of civilian vehicles.

1945
Sept 21, Henry Ford II named company president.

1946
Fordson Major Tractor introduced into NZ.

1946
First passenger car assembled since 1940 rolls off assembly line in New Zealand.

1947
April 7, Henry Ford dies at age 83 at Fair Lane in his estate in Dearborn.

1948
F-Series trucks introduced.

1949
Pioneering in quality control thanks largely to the "Whiz Kids" (young executives hired mid 1940's) to revamp the company and established statistical quality control methods.

1950
5000th Fordson Major Tractor assembled at Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

1951
NZ introduce Five Star Consul and Zephyr. Introduction of 1951 Canadian V8 Custom.

1951
Ford Motor Company first introduced automatic transmission and called it the Fordomatic. It featured 3 forward driving speeds and made many a timid driver more confident.

1953
F-100 half ton pickup is introduced replacing the F-1.

1953
In celebration of Ford's 50th anniversary a Sunliner paces the Indianapolis 500.

1953
May 20, the Ford Research & Engineering Centre in Dearborn was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower via closed-circuit television from the White House.

1953
June 16, Ford Rotunda closed to the public during World War II, reopens for the company's 50th anniversary.

1954
A leader in safety research and development, Ford Motor Company conducts its first crash test.

1954
Production of 100E Anglia and four door Prefect begins in New Zealand.

1955
The debut of the Thunderbird saw a blend of striking design, comfort and sports car competence seduce the US public.

1956
Jan 17, Ford Motor Company's stock went up for public sale.

1956
Production of Mark II Consul and Zephyr in New Zealand.

1957
Ford introduces factory 4WD to F-Series.

1957
The Fairlane becomes the most luxurious of Ford's offerings.

1957
Sept 4, public introduction of the Edsel, new medium-priced car.

1959
Ford Motor Company established industries largest automobile leasing company, Ford Credit.

1959
Nov 19, Ford announces it will discontinue Edsel car line. Lincoln-Mercury Division is reformed.

1960
July 13, Ernest Breech resigns as board chairman, he is succeeded by Henry Ford II, who also remains president.

1960
Nov 9, Robert McNamara elected company president.

1960
Dec 12, President John F. Kennedy names Robert McNamara as secretary of defence, McNamara resigns as Ford president.

1961
Oct 3, UAW calls first company-wide strike against Ford (ends Oct 20 - with a three year contract).

1961
Ford Motor Company of New Zealand's 25th anniversary celebration.

1962
Introduction of the Cortina in New Zealand.

1962
Nov 9, fire destroys Ford Rotunda (total visitor attendance since opening in Dearborn in 1936, 18,019,340).

1963
May 1, Arjay Miller elected company president.

1963 - 1983

 

 

 

 

1964
April 17, Mustang is born after 18 months development. Price tag $2,320.96 (roughly as much as the Chevrolet Corvette). Mustang is the official pace car of the 48th Annual Indianapolis 500. A yellow convertible is the first Mustang to appear on the big screen.

1964
Ford New Zealand purchases land in Wiri, Auckland.

1965
New National Parts Depot opened in Auckland, New Zealand.

1965
The mid engine GT40 race car begins production in Slough, England

1965
Ford Motor Company proudly advertises Twin-1-Benn, its latest innovation to F-Series. Two independent front axles share the shocks and create a smooth ride on the road.

1966
Hertz Rent-A-Car acquires 930 fastback and 6 GT350's for performance minded vacationer.

GT40's finish 1-2-3 at Le Mans the prestigious race in France.

1966
Mar 1, one-millionth Mustang are built in less than two years from start of production.

1967
Ford rates the 428 cid V8 Shelby GT-500 fastback conservatively at 355 horsepower. Enthusiasts hoist their Shelbys on autodynometers and get readings closer to 400 bhp. GT40's 2nd victory in a row at Le Mans.

1967
Sept 6, UAW launches company-wide strike (ends Oct 22).

1968
Feb 6, former GM executive Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen elected company president; Arjay Miller becomes vice chairman of the board.

1968
Ford New Zealand introduction of the Escort.

1970
New Zealand Ministry of Transport ordered 143 Zephyr patrol cars.

1971
Visit by Henry Ford II to Auckland and Wellington Operations in NZ.

1972
May 22, Henry Ford II and architect John Portman announce major office and hotel development on Detroit's riverfront, later named Renaissance Centre.

1972
Ford New Zealand established new transmission and chassis manufacturing facility at Manukau City. Wiri Assembly plant is completed.

1973
1st Falcon rolled off Wiri assembly line in New Zealand.

1973
A surge in Mustang convertible sales as Ford announces the next generation will not be available with convertible option.

1974
Jan 7, Edsel Ford II joins the company as product analyst.

1974
First oil shock in New Zealand - Falcon production reduced.

1975
Mk II Escort introduced in New Zealand.

1976
Mar 11, Marian Heiskell becomes the first woman elected to the board.

1977
60th Anniversary Ford Taurus.

1978
July 27, Benson Ford, director and vice president, dies.

1978
Sept 14, Philip Caldwell elected company president.

1979
Oct 1, Henry Ford II resigns as chief executive officer; Philip Caldwell succeeds him.

1979
Oct 15, William Clay Ford Jr joins the company as product planning analyst.

1980
Mar 13, Philip Caldwell succeeds Henry Ford II as board chairman; Donald Petersen elected company president and chief operating officer.

1980
Ford President establishes SV options - instrumental in developing Ford's role in racing and bringing performance technology to production models. Development of the GT40 was part of Henry Ford II's efforts to revitalize Ford Motor Company's image as a manufacturer of power products and the Le Mans victories certainly did the trick.

1981
Ford New Zealand Alloy Wheel plant established in Wiri.

1981
Dec18, Ford and Mazda establish Autorama, joint venture distribution channel for Ford products in Japan.

1982
Feb 13, Ford and UAW reach historic agreement encompassing innovative labour-management concepts.

1982
Oct 1, Henry Ford II retires as company officer and employee.

1983 - 2003

 

 

 

 

 

1985
Ford New Zealand Alloy Wheel plant wins export award.

1986
50th year celebration of Ford New Zealand.

1987
Sept 29, Henry Ford II dies at age 70.

1987
Dec 30, Hertz Corporation acquired for $1.3 billion by Park Ridge Corporation, formed by Ford and members of Hertz management.

1987-88
Ford New Zealand restructured and relocated to Manukau City, Lower Hutt assembly plant closed.

1988
Jan 14, Edsel Ford II and William Clay Ford Jr elected to board of directors.

1988
Dec 31, worldwide earnings reach all-time high of $5.3 billion - highest to date for any automotive company.

1990
Feb 28, Ford acquires Jaguar Cars for $2.5 billion.

1990
Mar 1, Harold Poling succeeds Donald Petersen as chairman of the board: Philip Benton Jr elected company president.

1992
Ford acquires 50% of Mazda Motor Manufacturing and renames the company Auto Alliance International.

1992
Milestone Ford Taurus become first car produced in US with CFC free air conditioning.

1993
Ford Motor Company established modern dealerships in mainland China, less than a year later Ford China operates Ford manufacturing and assembly.

1993
US Ford Motor Company reached new heights when five of the country's eight top selling vehicles were Fords.

1994
VANZ assembly plant achieves Q1.

1994
Vehicle assembly begins in India. Mid 1990's FORDSTAR introduced as innovative satellite based distance learning system for dealership training.

1995
F-Series becomes the worlds best selling nameplate in automotive history.

1996
Sales and marketing office opened in Moscow to serve dealers in Russia.

1996
250-millionth Ford vehicle assembled.

1997
Closure of VANZ assembly plant.

1997
F-Series named North American Truck of the Year by panel of 47 auto writers.

1999
On the retirement of Alex Trotman, Ford Motor Company's first president from outside the US, the role was passed on to another man of the world, Jacques Nasser. A former Ford Australia president. Nasser transitioned to company president in 1999 from the role as Ford Automotive Operations President and Chairman of Ford of Europe. He retired from the company in October 2001, passing the torch of president and CEO to William Clay Ford Jr.

1999
Ford establishes the Premier Automotive Group consisting of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lincoln and later completes the purchase of Volvo Car and incorporates Volvo as part of the Premier Auto Group.

1999
The Model T is named Car of the Century at the internationally attended gala in Las Vegas.

1999/2001
As Ford Motor Company approaches its 100th anniversary, a member of the Ford family again holds a top leadership position. William Clay Ford, Jr, a great grandson of Henry Ford, was elected chairman by the board of directors in January 1999 and then president and CEO in October 2001.

2000
Ford Focus is the first vehicle to receive both North American Car of the Year and European Car of the Year awards.

2000
Ford officially takes ownership of Land Rover from the BMW Group.

2000/2001
Ford Motor Company and Mazda NZ move to new headquarters adjacent to old VANZ assembly plant.

2001
Sale of the Ford Alloy Wheel Plant in New Zealand.

2001
Richard Matheson appointed managing director, Ford New Zealand