Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation and the world's fourth largest automaker based on worldwide vehicle sales, following Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. Based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, the automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury brands sold in the US and elsewhere, Ford's international brands also include Volvo of Sweden; and Ford owns a one-third controlling interest in Mazda of Japan, and a small holding in former subsidiary Aston Martin of England. Ford's former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover were sold to Tata Motors of India in March 2008.
In 2007, Ford became the third-ranked automaker in US sales, after General Motors and Toyota, falling from the second-ranked automaker position for the first time in the previous 56 years. Globally, Ford fell to the fourth-ranked spot after Volkswagen based on 2007 sales. Ford is the overall seventh-ranked American-based company in the 2007 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues in 2007 of $172.5 billion. In 2007 Ford produced 6.553 million automobiles and employed about 245,000 employees at around 100 plants and facilities worldwide. Also in 2007, Ford received more initial quality survey awards from J. D. Power and Associates than any other automaker, with five vehicles ranking at the top of their categories, and fourteen vehicles ranked in the top three.
Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce, using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines. Henry Ford's methods came to be known around the world as Fordism by 1914.
Ford was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies. Henry Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world's largest and most profitable companies, as well as being one to survive the Great Depression. As one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world, the Ford Motor Company has been in continuous family control for over 100 years.
In 2005, Ford Motor Company was among 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.
Members of the board as of early 2007 are: Chief Sir John Bond, Richard Manoogian, Stephen Butler, Ellen Marram, Kimberly Casiano, Alan Mulally (President and CEO), Edsel Ford II, Homer Neal, William Clay Ford Jr., Jorma Ollila, Irvine Hockaday Jr., John L. Thornton and William Clay Ford (Director Emeritus).
The main corporate officers are: Lewis Booth (Executive Vice President, Chairman (PAG) and Ford of Europe), Mark Fields (Executive Vice President, President of The Americas), Donat Leclair (Executive Vice President and CFO), Mark A. Schulz (Executive Vice President, President of International Operations) and Michael E. Bannister (Group Vice President; Chairman & CEO Ford Motor Credit). Paul Mascarenas (Vice President of Engineering, The Americas Product Development)
During the mid to late 1990s, Ford sold large numbers of vehicles, in a booming American economy with soaring stock market and low fuel prices. With the dawn of the new century, legacy healthcare costs, higher fuel prices, and a faltering economy led to falling market shares, declining sales, and sliding profit margins. Most of the corporate profits came from financing consumer automobile loans through Ford Motor Credit Company.
By 2005, corporate bond rating agencies had downgraded the bonds of both Ford and GM to junk status, citing high U.S. health care costs for an aging workforce, soaring gasoline prices, eroding market share, and dependence on declining SUV sales for revenues. Profit margins decreased on large vehicles due to increased "incentives" (in the form of rebates or low interest financing) to offset declining demand.
In the face of demand for higher fuel efficiency and falling sales of minivans, Ford moved to introduce a range of new vehicles, including "Crossover SUVs" built on unibody car platforms, rather than more body-on-frame chassis. In developing the hybrid electric powertrain technologies for the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, Ford licensed similar Toyota hybrid technologies to avoid patent infringements. Ford announced that it will team up with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.
In December 2006, the company raised its borrowing capacity to about $25 billion, placing substantially all corporate assets as collateral to secure the line of credit. Chairman Bill Ford has stated that "bankruptcy is not an option". In order to control its skyrocketing labor costs (the most expensive in the world), the company and the United Auto Workers, representing approximately 46,000 hourly workers in North America, agreed to a historic contract settlement in November of 2007 giving the company a substantial break in terms of its ongoing retiree health care costs and other economic issues. The agreement includes the establishment of a company-funded, independently-run Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (more commonly known as a VEBA) trust to shift the burden of retiree health care from the company's books, thereby improving its balance sheet. However, this arrangement will not begin to take effect until January 1, 2010. The agreement also gives hourly workers the job security they were seeking by having the company commit to substantial investments in most of its factories.
The automaker reported the largest annual loss in company history in 2006 of $12.7 billion, and estimated that it would not return to profitability until 2009. However, Ford surprised Wall Street in the second quarter of 2007 by posting a $750 million profit. Despite the gains, the company finished the year with a $2.7 billion loss, largely attributed to finance restructuring at Volvo.
In March 2008, Ford announced that it has reached agreement to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors for $2.3 billion. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008. It is understood that Ford Motor Company Ltd. will not retain any shareholding in either the Jaguar or Land-Rover companies, unlike Aston Martin where on its sale a small shareholding was retained; when the total sum to be paid in cash by Tata Motors of approximately US$2.3 billion, Ford will then contribute up to US $600 million to the Jaguar Land Rover pension plans.
In January 2008, Ford launched a website listing the 10 Built Ford Tough Rules as well as a series of webisodes that parodies the show COPS (TV Series).
These cutbacks are consistent with Ford's roughly 25% decline in U.S. automotive market share since the mid-late 1990s. Ford's target is to become profitable again in 2009, a year later than projected. Ford's realignment also includes the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, Hertz Rent-a-Car to a private equity group for $15 billion in cash and debt acquisition. The sale was completed on December 22, 2005. A 50-50 joint venture with Mahindra and Mahindra Limited of India, called Mahindra Ford India, Limited (MIFL), ended with Ford buying out Mahindra's remaining stake in the company in 2005. Ford had previously upped its stake to 72% in 1998.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ford also became President of the company in April 2006, with the retirement of Jim Padilla. Five months later, in September, he stepped down as President and CEO, and naming Alan Mulally as his successor. Bill Ford continues as Executive Chairman, along with an executive operating committee made up of Mulally, Mark Schulz, Lewis Booth, Don Leclair, and Mark Fields.
Ford has major manufacturing operations in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, the People's Republic of China, and several other countries, including South Africa where, following divestment during apartheid, it once again has a wholly owned subsidiary. Ford also has a cooperative agreement with Russian automaker GAZ.
Since 1989, Ford has acquired Aston Martin (which it sold again on March 12, 2007, but it will retain a $77 million stake in the sports car maker), and Volvo Cars from Sweden, as well as a controlling share (33.4%) of Mazda of Japan, with which it operates an American joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan called Auto Alliance. It has spun off its parts division under the name Visteon.
Also in 2008, Ford Motor is in negotiations with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation to sell its Volvo cars division.
Ford's FoMoCo parts division sells aftermarket parts under the Motorcraft brand name.
Ford's non-manufacturing operations include organizations such as automotive finance operation Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford also sponsors numerous events and sports facilities around the nation, most notably Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City and Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
From 2003, Toyota outsold Ford Motor worldwide. From the second quarter 2006, Toyota has passed Ford as the #2 automaker, by sales, in the United States.
The Ford Motor Company is in partnership talks to license hybrid technology from the Toyota Motor Corporation in a deal that could help establish Toyota's system as a standard for the industry.
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 U.S. have been disappointing. 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 February 2002, Ford ended car production in the UK. It was the first time in 90 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 commercial vehicles) and Cologne (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. Elsewhere in continental Europe, Ford assembles the Mondeo range in Genk (Belgium), Fiesta in Valencia (Spain) and Cologne (Germany), Ka in Valencia, and Focus in Valencia, Saarlouis (Germany) and Vsevolozhsk (Russia). Transit production is in Kocaeli (Turkey), Southampton (UK), and Transit Connect in Kocaeli.
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 Kocaeli 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, formerly assembled the Galaxy people-carrier as well as its sister ships, the VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra. With the introduction of the third generation of the Galaxy, Ford has moved the production of the people-carrier to the Genk plant, with Volkswagen taking over sole ownership of the Setubal facility.
Ford Europe has broken new ground with a number of relatively futuristic car launches over the last 50 years.
Its 1959 Anglia two-door saloon was one of the most quirky-looking small family cars in Europe at the time of its launch, but buyers soon became accustomed to its looks and it was hugely popular with British buyers in particular. It was still selling well when replaced by the more practical Escort in 1967.
The third incarnation of the Ford Escort was launched in 1980 and marked the company's move from rear-wheel drive saloons to front-wheel drive hatchbacks in the small family car sector. It also offered levels of style, comfort and refinement which were almost unmatched on comparable cars of this era. It was a huge success all over Europe and it was Britain's most popular car for most of its 10-year production life.
The fourth generation Escort was produced from 1990 until 2000, although its successor - the Focus - had been on sale since 1998. On its launch, the Focus was arguably the most dramatic-looking and fine-handling small family cars on sale, and sold in huge volumes right up to the launch of the next generation Focus at the end of 2004.
The 1982 Ford Sierra - replacement for the long-running and massively popular Cortina and Taunus models - was a style-setter at the time of its launch. Its ultramodern aerodynamic design was a world away from a boxy, sharp-edged Cortina, and it was massively popular just about everywhere it was sold. A series of updates kept it looking relatively fresh until it was replaced by the front-wheel drive Mondeo at the start of 1993.
The first two incarnations of the Mondeo were well-built, refined and reliable family cars that attracted strong sales, but the third incarnation (launched in 2007) took the large family car market to new heights in terms of build quality, refinement, comfort, equipment, driver appeal and value for money.
The rise in popularity of small cars during the 1970s saw Ford enter the mini-car market in 1976 with its Fiesta hatchback. Most of its production was concentrated at Valencia in Spain, and the Fiesta sold in huge figures from the very start. An update in 1983 and the launch of an all-new model in 1989 strengthened its position in the small car market. The second generation Fiesta was significantly updated twice before an all-new model was launched in 2002, and over the years it has become more refined, spacious, better-built and more enjoyable to drive.
In New Zealand and Australia, the popular Ford Falcon was long considered the average family car and is considerably larger than the Mondeo, Ford's largest car sold in Europe. Between 1960 and 1972, the Falcon was based on a U.S. Ford of that name, but since then has been entirely designed and manufactured locally. Like its General Motors rival, the Holden Commodore, the 4.0 L Falcon retains rear wheel drive. High performance variants of the Falcon running locally-built engines produce up to . A ute (short for "utility," known in the US as pickup truck) version is also available with a similar range of drivetrains. In addition, Ford Australia sells highly-tuned Falcon sedans and utes through its performance car division, Ford Performance Vehicles. These cars produce and are built in small numbers to increase their value as collectors' cars.
In Australia, the Commodore and Falcon have traditionally outsold all other cars and comprise over 20% of the new car market. In New Zealand, Ford was second in market share in the first eight months of 2006 with 14.4 per cent. This is all set to change with a shift away from local manufacturing and assembly: 2007 second quarter has seen Ford Australia cut their prestige (LWB) models and more recently, announced closure of their key engine manufacturing. This is due partly to drops in sales with stiff competition from Toyota's new Aurion and an updated Mitsubishi 380, both taking a large piece of the local family sedan market. Ford is betting on growth in small car sales with the Focus which it plans to assemble locally, and the popular Territory (Falcon-based) SUV.
Ford's presence in Asia has traditionally been much smaller. However, 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 outsold the Mazda 323, despite being almost identical to it. The Laser was also built in Mexico and sold in the U.S. as the Mercury Tracer, while the 1991 (and on through the end of the model in the early 2000s) American Ford Escort (and 1991-on Tracer) was based on the Laser/Mazda 323, assembled in the US and Mexico.
Through its relationship with Mazda, Ford also acquired a stake in South Korean manufacturer Kia, which built the (Mazda-based) Ford Festiva from 1988-1993, and the Ford Aspire from 1994-1997 for export to the United States, but later sold their interest to Hyundai. Kia continued to market the Aspire as the Kia Avella, later replaced by the Rio and once again sold in the US. 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 India began production in 1998 with its Ford Escort model, which was later replaced by locally produced Ford Ikon in 2001. It has since added Fusion, Fiesta, Mondeo and Endeavour to its product line.
In 1987, Ford merged its operations in Brazil and Argentina with those of Volkswagen to form a company called Autolatina, with which it shared models. Sales figures and profitability were disappointing, and Autolatina was dissolved in 1995. With the advent of Mercosur, the regional common market, Ford was finally able to rationalize its product line-ups in those countries. Consequently, the Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport are only built in Brazil, and the Ford Focus only built in Argentina, with each plant exporting in large volumes to the neighboring countries. Models like the Ford Mondeo from Europe could now be imported completely built up. Ford of Brazil produces a pick-up truck version of the Fiesta, the Courier, which is also produced in South Africa as the Ford Bantam in right hand drive versions.
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 previous Arab boycotts of companies dealing with Israel. Ford and Lincoln vehicles are currently marketed in ten countries in the region. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE are the biggest markets. Ford also established itself in Egypt in 1926, but faced an uphill battle during the 1950s due to the hostile nationalist business environment. Ford's distributor in Saudi Arabia announced in February 2003 that it had sold 100,000 Ford and Lincoln vehicles since commencing sales in November 1986. Half of the Ford/Lincoln vehicles sold in that country were Ford Crown Victorias. In 2004, Ford sold 30,000 units in the region, falling far short of General Motors' 88,852 units and Nissan Motors' 75,000 units.
For the 2007 model year, Ford had 13 U.S. models that achieve 30 miles per gallon or better (based on the highway fuel economy estimates of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) and several of Ford’s vehicles were recognized in the EPA and Department of Energy Fuel Economy Guide for best-in-class fuel economy. Ford claimed to have eliminated nearly 3 million pounds of smog-forming emissions from our U.S. cars and light trucks over the 2004 to 2006 model years.
The Lincoln-Mercury brand has dropped on the American Customer Satisfaction Index list, from 83 from 86 in 2007. Ford announced in late 2008 July that it will bring six of its more fuel-efficient European models to the U.S. .
In 2000, under the leadership of the current Ford chairman, William Clay (Bill) Ford, the Company announced a planned 25 percent improvement in the average mileage of its light truck fleet — including its popular SUVs — to be completed by the 2005 calendar year. This promise, however, remains unfulfilled.
On the other hand, Ford ended the Think City experiment and ordered all the cars repossessed and destroyed, even as many of the people leasing them begged to be able to buy the cars from Ford. After outcry from the lessees and activists in the US and Norway, Ford returned the cars to Norway for sale.
In 2003, Ford announced that competitive market conditions and technological and cost challenges would prevent the company from achieving this goal. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2005 fuel economy report ranking Ford cars, trucks and SUVs as having the lowest gas milleage of any automaker in America
Ford discontinued a line of electric Ranger pickup trucks and ordered them destroyed, though it reversed in January 2005, after environmentalist protest.
Ford did improve fuel efficiency during 2005, with the introduction of the Hybrid-Electric Escape. The Escape's platform mate Mercury Mariner was also available with the hybrid-electric system in the 2006 model year—a full year ahead of schedule. The similar Mazda Tribute will also receive a hybrid-electric powertrain option, along with many other vehicles in the Ford vehicle line. In 2005, Ford announced its goal to make 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but by mid-2006 announced that it would not meet that goal. Other hybrids to come out will be the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrid version in 2008. There are also plans for hybrid versions of the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.
Ford also continues to study Fuel Cell-powered electric powertrains, and has demonstrated hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine technologies, as well as developing the next-generation hybrid-electric systems. Compared with conventional vehicles, hybrid vehicles and/or fuel cell vehicles decrease air pollution emissions as well as sound levels, with favorable impacts upon respiratory health and decrease of noise health effects.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have, however, listed Ford as the seventh-worst corporate producer of air pollution, primarily because of the manganese compounds, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, and glycol ethers released from its casting, truck, and assembly plants. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has linked Ford to 54 Superfund toxic waste sites, 12 of which have been cleaned up and deleted from the list.
Bill Ford was one of the first top industry executives to make regular use of an battery electric vehicle, a Ford Ranger EV, while the company contracted with the United States Postal Service to deliver electric postal vans based on the Ranger EV platform.
The alternative fuel vehicles, such as some versions of the Crown Victoria especially in fleet and taxi service, operate on compressed natural gas—or CNG. Some CNG vehicles have dual fuel tanks - one for gasoline, the other for CNG - the same engine can operate on either fuel via a selector switch. Flexible fuel vehicles are designed to operate smoothly using a wide range of available fuel mixtures—from pure gasoline, to bioethanol-gasoline blends such as E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). Part of the challenge of successful marketing alternative and flexible fuel vehicles, is the general lack of establishment of sufficient fueling stations, which would be essential for these vehicles to be attractive to a wide range of consumers. Significant efforts to ramp up production and distribution of E85 fuels are underway and expanding.
Current Ford Flexible Fuel Vehicles:
Ford was third to the automotive market with a hybrid electric vehicle: the Ford Escape Hybrid, the first hybrid electric SUV to market. This was also the first hybrid electric vehicle with a Flexible Fuel capability to run on E85. The company had made plans to manufacture up to 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, but has since had to back down on that commitment, due to excessively high costs and the lack of sufficient supplies of the hybrid-electric batteries and drivetrain system components. Instead, Ford has committed to accelerating development of next-generation hybrid-electric power plants in Britain, in collaboration with Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. This engineering study is expected to yield more than 100 new hybrid-electric vehicle models and derivatives.
Ford is also planning to produce 250,000 E85-capable vehicles a year in the US, adding to some 1.6 million already sold in the last 10 years.
Ford has launched the production of hydrogen-powered shuttle buses, using hydrogen instead of gasoline in a standard internal combustion engine, for use at airports and convention centers. At the 2006 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford showcased a hydrogen fuel cell version of its Explorer SUV. The Fuel cell Explorer has a combined output of . It has a large hydrogen storage tank which is situated in the center of the car taking the original place of the conventional model’s automatic transmission. The centered position of the tank assists the vehicle reach a notable range of , the farthest for a fuel cell vehicle so far. The fuel cell Explorer the first in a series of prototypes partly funded by the United States Department of Energy to expand efforts to determine the feasibility of hydrogen- powered vehicles. The fuel cell Explorer is one of several vehicles with green technology Ford being featured at the L.A. show, including the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, PZEV emissions compliant Fusion and Focus models and a 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty outfitted with Ford's clean diesel technology.
Ford announced on 2007-07-09 that it will team up with Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.
Current and planned Ford hybrid electric vehicles:
Given Ford's new emphasis on its European vehicles, a virtual trip to the British International Motor Show in London is in order. Ford is displaying five models of its all-new Fiesta at the auto show, which opened to the public on July 23. Among the models on display is the world debut of Ford's "ECOnetic" version of the Ford Fiesta, which combines more aerodynamic styling, a lowered suspension, low-rolling-resistance tires, low-friction oil, and a specially tuned, turbocharged, direct-injection diesel engine. As a result, it achieves on the European combined test cycle, which generally yields higher fuel economy numbers than the U.S. test methods (note also that the U.K. gallon is about 20% larger than the U.S. gallon, so we've adjusted these numbers accordingly). The standard diesel version of the Fiesta achieves 52.3 mpg, while diesel versions of the European Ford Focus achieve 52.3 mpg for most body styles and 54.7 mpg for the ECOnetic model. Of course, the United States has stricter emissions rules than in Europe, so it may not be possible for Ford to offer similar models in the United States.
Ford has challenged University teams to create a vehicle that is simple, durable, lightweight and and come equipped with a base target price of only $7,000 The students from Aachen University created the “2015 Ford Model T” .
Ford is one of four manufacturers in NASCAR's three major series: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Craftsman Truck Series. Major teams include Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing. Ford is represented by the mid-size Fusion in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, and by the F-150 in the Craftsman Truck Series. Some of the most successful NASCAR Fords were the aerodynamic fastback Ford Torino and Mercury Montegos, and the aero-era Ford Thunderbirds. The Ford nameplate has won eight manufacturer's championships in Sprint Cup, while Mercury has won one.
Ford was heavily involved in Formula One for many years, and supplied engines to a large number of teams from 1967 until 2004. These engines were designed and manufactured by Cosworth, the racing division that was owned by Ford from 1998 to 2004. Ford-badged engines won 176 Grands Prix between 1967 and 2003 for teams such as Team Lotus and McLaren. Ford entered Formula One as a constructor in 2000 under the Jaguar Racing name, after buying the Stewart Grand Prix team which had been its primary 'works' team in the series since 1997. Jaguar achieved little success in Formula One, and after a turbulent five seasons, Ford withdrew from the category after the 2004 season, selling both Jaguar Racing (which became Red Bull Racing) and Cosworth (to Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven).
Ford has a long history in rallying and has been active in the World Rally Championship since the beginning of the world championship, the 1973 season. Ford took the 1979 manufacturers' title with Hannu Mikkola, Björn Waldegård and Ari Vatanen driving the Ford Escort RS1800. In the Group B era, Ford achieved success with Ford RS200. Since the 1999 season, Ford has used various versions of the Ford Focus WRC to much success. In the 2006 season, BP-Ford World Rally Team secured Ford its second manufacturers' title, with the Focus RS WRC 06 built by M-Sport and driven by Flying Finns Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen. Continuing with Grönholm and Hirvonen, Ford successfully defended the manufacturers' world championship in the 2007 season. Ford is the only manufacturer to score in the points for 92 consecutive races; since the 2002 season opener Monte Carlo Rally.
Ford sports cars have always been visible in the world of endurance racing. Most notably the GT40 won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in the 1960s and still stands today as one of the all-time greatest racing cars. The GT40 is the only American car to ever win overall at Le Mans.
The Ford Mustang has arguably been Ford's most successful sports car. The Mustang won the SCCA Pro B National Championship in 1965 at the hands of Jerry Titus who went on to win the SCCA Trans-Am Championship in another Mustang two year later in 1967. Ford won the Trans-Am Championship again in 1970 with Parnelli Jones and George Folmer driving Boss 302s for Bud Moore Engineering. Ford took the 1985 and 1986 IMSA GTO Chmapionship with Mustangs driven by John Jones and Scott Pruett before returning to Trans-Am glory with a chamiponship in 1989 with Dorsey Schrader. Ford dominated Trans-Am in the 1990s with Tommy Kendal winning championships in 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1997 with Paul Gentilozi adding yet another title in 1999. In 2005 the Ford Mustang FR500C took the championship in the Rolex Koni Challenge Series in its first year on the circuit. In 2007 Ford added a championship in the GT4 European Championship. 2008 is the first year of the Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup; a new series which pits a full field of identical factory built Ford Mustang race cars against each other. Also in 2008 Ford won both the drivers and manufacturers championship in the Koni Challenge Series with Joe Foster and Steve Maxwell driving HyperSport.
Ford has produced trucks since 1908. Countries where Ford commercial vehicles are or were made include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada (badged Mercury too), France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Philippines, Spain (badged Ebro too), Turkey, UK (badged also Fordson and Thames) and USA.
Most of all these ventures are now extinct. The European one that lasted longer was the lorries arm of Ford of Britain, that was eventually sold to Iveco group in 1986, and whose last significant models were the Transcontinental and the Cargo.
In the USA, Ford's heavy trucks division (Classes 7 and 8) was sold in 1997 to Freightliner, now part of DaimlerChrysler, that rebranded it as Sterling. Ford continues building medium class trucks with the F-650 and F-750 and recently introduced the LCF series similar in design to the Ford Cargo trucks of the past.
In 1986, Ford expanded its tractor business when it purchased the Sperry-New Holland skid-steer loader and hay baler, hay tools and implement company from Sperry Corporation and formed Ford-New Holland which bought out Versatile tractors in 1988. This company was bought by Fiat in 1993 and the name changed from Ford New Holland to New Holland. New Holland is now part of CNH Global.
Ford refused to allow collective bargaining until 1941, with the Ford Service Department being set up as an internal security, intimidation, and espionage unit within the company, and quickly gained a reputation of using violence against union organizers and sympathizers.
Ford was also criticized for wearing down Firestone tires during driving, which caused many wrecks during a short time period in 2003. Many people were injured and killed due to the wearing down of the tires. Although Firestone received most of the blame, some blame fell on Ford, which advised customers to under-inflate the tires.
Other accusations were that the company collaborated with the German Nazi regime and relied on Germany. The German Ford company used slave labor in Cologne between 1941 and 1945 and it had produced military vehicles such as jeeps, planes, and ships used by a fascist regime. Many of these allegations were made in a series of United States lawsuits in 1998. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1999 because the judge concluded "the issues...concerned international treaties between nations and foreign policy and were thus in the realm of the executive branch.
Detractors point to Henry Ford's outspoken anti-semitism, including his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, which published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They also point to the fact that in 1938, four months after the German annexation of Austria, Ford accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the Nazi regime's highest honor for foreigners before the outbreak of the war, as the only American ever to be given the award. Defenders of the company argue that the Ford German division, Fordwerke, had been taken over by the Nazi government after it rose to power, claiming that it was not under the company's control, though Henry Ford, according to court records, did stay in touch with the company. Although Ford's initial motivations were anti-war, the company was heavily involved in the war effort after the outbreak of war.
Ford's Argentine subsidiary was accused of collaborating with the Argentine 1976-1983 military dictatorship, actively helping in the political repression of intellectuals and dissidents that was pursued by said government. No result was proven and the company denied the allegations.
In a lawsuit initiated in 1996 by relatives of some of the estimated 600 Spanish citizens who disappeared in Argentina during the "Dirty War", evidence was presented to support the allegation that much of this repression was directed by Ford and the other major industrial firms. According to a 5,000-page report, Ford executives drew up lists of "subversive" workers and handed them over to the military task-forces which were allowed to operate within the factories. These groups were allegedly kidnapped, tortured and murdered workers - at times allegedly within the plants themselves. The company denied the allegations.
In a second trial, a report brought by the CTA, and the testimonies of former Ford workers themselves, claimed that the company's Argentine factory was used between 1976 and 1978 as a detention center, and that management allowed the military to set up its own bunker inside the plant. The company denied the allegations.
In the related Ford Pinto product liability case Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal. App. 3d 757 (4th Dist. 1981) the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District reviewed Ford's conduct and upheld compensatory damages of $2.5 million and punitive damages of $3.5 million against Ford. Of the two plaintiffs, one was killed in the collision that caused her Pinto to explode, and her passenger, 13-year old Richard Grimshaw, was badly burned and scarred for life.
A similar problem occurred in Australia with faulty plastic tanks shipped from the U.S. (deemed unsafe for use in the U.S.) and installed in the locally produced Ford Falcon, and when hit at the rear the tanks burst into flame, with the same effects as above.