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Ford Motor Company

Automobile maker Ford Motor Company (sometimes nicknamed Fords or FoMoCo) was founded by Henry Ford in Highland Park, Michigan, and incoporated on June 16, 1903. The company radically reformed the methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars, and large-scale management of an industrial workforce. Ford implemented the ideas of Eli Whitney, who developed the first assembly line using interchangeable parts, which made it possible to put the cars together at a much lower cost and with greater reliability and repeatability.

During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at the Ford factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies.

In 1908, the Ford company released the Ford Model T. The company was forced to move to a larger factory to keep up with the demand for the Model T, and by 1913 had developed all of the basic techniques of assembly line production. By 1918 half of all cars in America were Model Ts. Referring to the Model T, Henry Ford jokingly said that his customers could get a Ford car in any color they liked—so long as it was black.

On January 1, 1919, Edsel Ford succeeded his father as head of the company, although Henry Ford still kept a hand in management. The Ford company lost market share during the 1920s due to the rise of consumer credit. The company's goal was to produce an inexpensive automobile that any worker could afford. To keep prices low, Ford (at the behest of its owner, Henry Ford) offered few features. General Motors and other competitors began offering automobiles in more colors, with more features and luxuries. They also extended credit so consumers could buy these more expensive automobiles. Ford resisted following suit, insisting that such credit would hurt the consumer and the economy. Due to market constraints, however, the company finally gave in and followed its competitors' lead.

Ford's plants in Germany and Vichy France, Fordwerke[?], produced many of the cars and trucks used by the Nazis in World War II. The Ford Motor Company has denied allegations that they profited by the use of forced labor to produce tanks for the Nazis during the war, saying that Ford had lost control of the German division by that point in the war and was not responsible for its activities. (See: Strategic bombing survey (Europe))

Ford became a publicly-traded corporation in 1955; however, the Ford family still maintains a controlling interest in the company. The current home of Ford Motor Company is in Dearborn, Michigan.

The Ford company also manufactures automobiles under the Lincoln and Mercury marques. Its attempt in the late 1950s to introduce a new marque, the Edsel, was a major failure.

Ford has for years had major manufacturing operations in Great Britain, Germany, Brazil, Australia and several other countries.

Ford also has a cooperative agreement with GAZ. In recent years Ford has acquired Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover, as well as a large share of Mazda. It has spun off its parts division under the name Visteon[?].

See the list of Ford cars here.

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