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The Pioneer Spirit of Ford Motor Company

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On: Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 12:22PM | By: Teddy Field

The Pioneer Spirit of Ford Motor Company

For over 100 years, Ford's iconic blue oval has adorned many of this country's best-selling cars. From the Ford Model T to the Ford F-150, Henry Ford has left an indelible mark on our transportation history. A legacy that lives on in the wildly popular Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, and the Ford F150. Ford dealers across the country are teeming with business, so let's see how it all began.

Back in 1903, Henry Ford and Alexander Malcomson decided to go into the car business. At the time, there was literally a car company on every corner in Detroit. 99% of them went bankrupt within their first 5 years. A fate that Ford's first automobile company (the Henry Ford Company) had met just a few months earlier. Undaunted by his first failure, Ford pitched his new car design to some of Detroit's most prominent auto part suppliers. His presentation to the Dodge Brothers was met with enthusiasm, and the brothers agreed to manufacture the engines, transmissions, and frames for Ford, in exchange for a 10% stake in the company, and the entirety of the Ford Motor Company's manufacturing assets if they went bankrupt. The Dodge Brothers even lent Ford several thousand dollars to fund his new enterprise.

Thanks to Ford's design and the Dodge Brother's precision manufacturing, the 1903 Ford Model A was an immediate success and the Ford Motor Company actually turned a profit in its first year. By 1908, Ford had designed the Model T, and he came up with the idea for a moving assembly line in the process. At the time, cars were assembled individually and the worker turnover rate was ridiculously high. His idea would allow Model T's to move between assembly stations, cutting production time by preventing workers from getting in each other’s way. Ford and the Dodge Brothers both operated Model T factories, and the average production time for a Model T was 12 ½ hours. Each worker was paid roughly $60 per day, adjusted for inflation, and the hours were long.

Henry Ford 'bet the ranch' to construct his first assembly line. When it was completed in 1913, build time for the Model T dropped from half a-day to 90 minutes, and production soared to 202,000 units. A year later, he doubled his worker's pay and cut their daily shift to just 8 hours. This slashed his employee turnover rate, and allowed workers to actually buy a Model T for themselves. Six years later, production of the Tin Lizzy had climbed to 1 million units per year, and a staggering 50% of the cars in America came from Ford. By the time Ford ceased production of the T in 1927, over 16.5 million copies had been sold. It would eventually become the 7thbest-selling car of all time.

With the invention of the assembly line, the Dodge Brothers would ultimately lose their contract to build Ford cars. But they made enough money from their Ford stock to start their own car company. Ford would go on to become an automotive juggernaut, and it would help to evolve the car industry with numerous innovations like offering individual options on the 1964 Ford Mustang, and putting a twin-turbo V6 in its best-selling Ford F-150.

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