Ford was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford and quickly became a household name with the introduction of the Model T. Over its twenty years of service, Ford sold over 16 million Model T vehicles. The Model T was popular because it was designed as a vehicle for everyone in America. The affordable vehicle was possible because Henry Ford helped invent and revolutionize the assembly line – thereby drastically reducing the cost of manufacturing.
Ford evolved over the years, purchasing Lincoln in 1925 and then creating the Mercury marquee. Success came easy over the early part of the 1900s and Ford sold millions of vehicles. In the 1950s Ford introduced the Thunderbird, the Falcon in the 1960s, and of course the ever-popular Mustang. The Mustang was extremely popular because of its affordability and big block V8 engine. It has remained one of the premier vehicles ever since its introduction.
The 1970s were challenging for Ford as Japanese automakers flooded the market with high-mileage, economical vehicles which did well in the face of the oil crisis. However, late in the decade Ford acquired a portion of Mazda – which allowed the companies to share technology.
In the 1980s Ford rebounded with the introduction of popular models such as the Taurus and Escort. Ford also acquired Jaguar and Aston Martin, and introduced the Crown Victoria (originally known as the Ford LTD). In the 90s Ford vehicles continued to grow in popularity. They produced the Explorer and helped usher in a new wave of SUV vehicles and they purchased Volvo and Land Rover as the millennium turned.
Today Ford has reduced its profile, selling off Jaguar, Aston Martin, Land Rover, and Volvo in the face of stiffer competition and economic woes. However, the brand remains strong – offering thirty-eight models including the F-150 pickup, Focus, Fiesta, and an all new Mustang.