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Ford was founded in 1903 in Detroit. The founding father Henry Ford developed the first model, the Ford Quadricycle in 1896 himself.
The Ford Model T, also known as Tin Lizzy, reached the broad US-American society from 1908 on. With the introduction of the assembly line work - a novelty in the process of production - a higher number of pieces could be produced in a shorter time and more economically.
The assembly line turned the T-model into a best seller until 1927, so that in 1918 half of all cars in the USA were a Ford T. Only in 1972 the VW Beetle managed to beat this sales record.
Already 1926, individual parts for the Ford T were traded in Berlin. An office in Germany opened 1930 in Cologne. The Ford factories on the Rhine even today benefit from the shipping.
Fordwerke GmbH is now one of the leading manufacturers and largest employers in the industry in Germany, with its location in Cologne and Saarlouis.
Despite the growing competition with General Motors, Ford didn’t give up his intention and strategy to produce cheap cars that virtually everyone could afford. At the same time, starting in 1917, the Group entered the production of tractors and agricultural machines, initially under the name Fordson, from 1964 simply as Ford.
The production of aircraft parts also made it possible to enter the stock market in 1955. By that time the tractor section was handed over to Fiat in 1991, this was proved to be a big advantage.
The Transit is for Europe something one could call an indirect descendant of the utility vehicles which inherited the T-model. The Ford Transit was first presented in 1961. Because of its popularity, the model is still produced today and is the only serious rival to the VW transporter.
The F series from year 1948 was the basis for all later pick-ups. The models popular in the USA, such as the F-150 and other off-road vehicles, were not particularly popular in Europe until the 1990s. A changing story – because for example in 2014 Ford had beaten VW in the field of new registrations of off-road vehicles in Germany.
In 1952, the Taunus 12M was developed in the lower middle class in the factories in Cologne, which was in Germany lovingly called “World ball Taunus” ("Weltkugel-Taunus") because of its round radiator figure. A real success was the follow-up model 17M from 1960, of which 670,000 pieces were produced.
On the other side of the Atlantic the sporty Thunderbird was presented in 1955, which from 2002 to 2005 rolled off again as a retro model from the production line.
Although the nuclear-powered Ford Nucleon never really got into production, the model is historically speaking nevertheless one of the most ambitious experiments in the beginning of the atomic age at the end of the 1950s. On the other hand, the Mustang from 1964 succeeded in selling quite well. One million vehicles were sold within 18 months.
In 1989 the takeover first from Jaguar until 2007 and then from Volvo took place, while in the German workshops the 20-millionth car was produced. The focus gradually shifted to mid-class cars like the Mondeo and the Ford Focus – the latter is still one of the best selling cars in the world.
The brand is also known for small cars - from its origins in 1976, the Fiesta has spread mainly in Europe and in 2013 for instance became number one among the small ones. The small car Ford Ka is still produced since 1996, despite its reputation for recurring technical problems.
Vans from the Max series, the Ford Galaxy or the Kuga, an off-road vehicle, are also appreciated on the European market. Since 2010 Ford is again in an economic boom.
Participation in automobile sports
Even in racing, Ford has more than 100 years of history and has been the centre of interests in competitions ever since. Henry Ford personally competed and celebrated in 1901 a big victory at the Grosse Point in Michigan. Supposedly he was able to start the company with the help of the competition’s funds.
Ford has a total of more than 176 grand prix victories, more than 13 world championships and more than 10 world championships. Since the mid-1970s and up to the year 2000 Ford had 197 victories. Participation in the IndyCar races also brought good results, not to forget Ford's strong presence in the Touring Car and the World Championship Titles 1987, 1993 and 1994.
Since 2012, Ford stopped the participation at the rally world championship for the moment, which had been very successful for the company.