In 2006, Ford was the second-ranked automaker in the US with a 17.5% market share, behind General Motors (24.6%) but ahead of Toyota (15.4%) and Daimler (14.4%). Ford was also the seventh-ranked American-based company in the 2007 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues of $160.1 billion. In 2006, the company produced about 6.6 million Ford cars, and employed about 280,000 employees at about 100 plants and facilities worldwide. In 2007, Ford had more quality awards from J.D Power than any other automaker.
Ford now encompasses many global brands, including Lincoln and Mercury of the US, Jaguar and Land Rover of the UK, and Volvo of Sweden. Ford also owns a one-third controlling interest in Mazda.
Ford has been one of the world's ten largest corporations by revenue and in 1999 ranked as one of the world's most profitable corporations, and the number two automaker worldwide.
Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of Ford cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce,
especially elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines. Henry Ford's combination of
highly efficient factories, highly paid workers, and low prices revolutionized manufacturing and came to be known around the
world as Fordism by 1914.
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Based in Dearborn, Michigan the automaker was founded by 40-year old Henry Ford and incorporated in June 16, 1903. Initially, the company produced just a few Model T's a day. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies. Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world, as well as being one of the few to survive the Great Depression became the largest family-controlled company in the world.
During the mid to late 1990s, the company sold large numbers of Ford cars, in a booming American economy with soaring stock market and low fuel prices. With the dawn of the new century, legacy health care costs, higher fuel prices, and a faltering economy led to falling market shares, declining sales, and sliding profit margins. Most of the corporate profits came from financing consumer automobile loans through Ford Motor Credit Company.
By 2005, corporate bond rating agencies had downgraded the bonds of both Ford and GM to junk status, citing high U.S. health care costs for an aging workforce, soaring gasoline prices, eroding market share, and dependence on declining SUV sales for revenues. Profit margins decreased on large vehicles due to increased "incentives" (in the form of rebates or low interest financing) to offset declining demand.
In the face of falling truck and SUV sales, Ford moved to introduce a range of new Ford cars, including "Crossover SUVs" built on unibody car platforms, rather than body-on-frame truck chasses.
The automaker reported a net loss of $12.7 billion during 2006, and has estimated that it will not return to profitability until 2009. However, Ford surprised Wall Street in posting a 750 million dollar profit in the second quarter of 2007, a change largely attributed to the sale of Aston Martin and cost-cutting. Ford has expressed a continued interest in the selling of Land Rover and Jaguar. Now only until recently Ford has expressed that they will be divesting the entire PAG including Volvo Personvagnar AB before winter of 2007.
Ford Cars Continue On Since Henry Ford's Time
Today, Ford Motor Company manufactures Ford cars under several names including Lincoln and Mercury in the United States. In 1958, Ford introduced a new marque, the Edsel, but poor sales led to its discontinuation in 1960. Later, in 1985, the Merkur brand was introduced; it met a similar fate in 1989.
Ford also manufactures Ford cars in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, the People's Republic of China, and several other countries, including South Africa where, following divestment during apartheid, it once again has a wholly owned subsidiary. Ford also has a cooperative agreement with Russian automaker GAZ.
Since 1989, Ford has acquired Aston Martin (which it sold again on March 12, 2007, but it will retain a $77 million stake in the sports car maker), Jaguar, Land Rover, from the United Kingdom and Volvo Cars from Sweden, as well as a controlling share (33.4%) of Mazda of Japan, with which it operates an American joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan called Auto Alliance. It has spun off its parts division under the name Visteon. Its prestige brands, with the exception of Lincoln, are managed through its Premier Automotive Group.
Overall the Ford Motor Company controls the following operational car marques: Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, and Volvo; Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo are currently part of the Premier Automotive Group.
Initially, Ford automobiles sold outside the U.S. were essentially versions of those sold on the home market, but later on, models specific to Europe were developed and sold. Attempts to globalize the model line have often failed with the one exception: European model of the Focus, which has sold strongly on both sides of the Atlantic.
From 2003, Toyota outsold Ford Motor worldwide. From the second quarter 2006, Toyota has passed Ford as the #2 automaker, by sales, in the United States.
Ford Motor Co. reported the largest annual loss in company history in 2006. The embattled automaker also posted a fourth-quarter loss that was worse than analysts' expectations and warned of worse showings ahead. As the higher fuel prices drove Americans back to fuel efficient car models and 25% of U.S. consumers are considering plug-in hybrid, Ford was left with a weak product lineup of Ford cars.
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