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Explore New Ranger. Learn More. Explore EcoSport. View All Vehicles. Before jumping into the product side of the story, it helps to survey the bigger picture. Beginning in , Ford was the truck industry's hands-down production leader in light duty and medium duty models.
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Chevrolet pushed Ford out of its coveted number one truck sales position in the mid-Thirties and was still comfortably in first place in truck sales for , when our story begins. In , Ford was a remade company in a remade country. In the wake of devastation across Europe and Asia, the United States was the world's unchallenged superpower.
To his credit, "HFII" had the foresight to hire the so-called "Whiz Kids," a group of 10 former military management brains, to overhaul the internal workings of the company. His second brilliant move was to bring in Ernie Breech from GM-owned Bendix as executive vice president and general manager of Ford.
They were determined to return to the glory days when Ford led the industry in both auto and truck production. However, this was a team of realists who knew they couldn't reach their lofty goals overnight. The accelerating speed with which Ford could produce cars helped him continue to lower the price of the Model T.
The increased pay, increased leisure time, and even increased the personal mobility of car ownership were all critical factors in the creation of an American middle class. It would become the largest integrated factory in the world by the following decade. Throughout its history, the self-contained Rouge Complex has contained a wide array of industries necessary to produce cars, including steel mills, a tire factory, a glass factory, a power plant and a reception depot for coal, iron ore, rubber and lumber. In the s the complex employed over , workers.
Today the River Rouge Complex continues to evolve to meet the needs of modern manufacturing processes. This early pickup was rated at one ton. These 42 Eagle-class boats were the first product manufactured at the Rouge. In its efforts to aid the Allies in WWI, Ford also produced more than 38, Model T cars, ambulances, and trucks, 7, Fordson tractors, two types of armored tanks, and 4, Liberty airplane engines for the Allies. Afterward, Ford hired disabled veterans returning from the war, making the automaker one of the first companies to hire people with disabilities and to adapt work environments to their specific needs.
Model T - HISTORY
On the same day, Henry Ford put a plan in place to buy out his investors and make himself, Clara Ford, and Edsel the sole owners of the business. His aesthetic legacy lives on in the original Lincoln Continental. While the Model T dominated the auto industry from to the early s, by the middle of the decade there was fierce competition from other automakers. After the 15 millionth Model T drove off the assembly line on May 26, , Ford closed plants all over the world to spend six months retooling factories and perfecting the design of a new car.
The car was the first vehicle to sport the iconic Blue Oval logo, and it included innovative features like a Safety Glass windshield. As with the new Model A, Henry Ford shut down all other production operations to work on this innovative project.
Reorganization and expansion
At great effort and expense, the company engineered a way to cast the first commercially successful V8 engine. The flathead was a hit. It was affordable, versatile, and introduced just as the American market was becoming fascinated with ever-more powerful engines. It remained in production for over 22 years. To this day the flathead remains extremely popular with hot rodders.
Much like the Mercury brand, Lincoln-Zephyr was designed to sell at a price point between the Ford V8 De Luxe and the high-end luxury cars offered by Lincoln. Edsel Ford created Mercury cars to bridge the gap between affordable Fords and luxurious Lincoln cars. The first Mercury was the Mercury 8, which had a V8 engine and a stylish body characteristic of Edsel Ford's design sense.
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The vehicles were nicknamed for their "GP," or general-purpose designation. After years of struggle between management and labor at Detroit's major automakers, Ford signed a contract guaranteeing better pay, benefits and working conditions for employees. Through its manufacturing expertise, Ford facilities built a staggering number of automobiles, planes, tanks, aircraft engines and other materiel for the war effort. In , Rose Will Monroe was working at Willow Run as a rivet gun operator when she was chosen to appear in a promotional film for war bonds.
Edsel was the only child of Henry and Clara Ford. Today, Edsel's legacy lives on in his contributions to the design of Lincoln cars and his generous backing of art in Detroit. When Henry II took over, the company and its bookkeeping practices were in disarray. With the help of ten former U. With its first postwar truck design, Ford ceased building trucks on car platforms and used a purpose-built truck platform instead.
In , the F was replaced by the F line of trucks.