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Ford Company

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Ford Company

Kauno technologijos universitetas

Economics and Management faculty

Ford company and Henry Ford

VB 3/5 gr.


S. Jokubauskas

Kaunas, 2004

The Dream Becomes a Business

Ford Motor Company entered the business world on June 16, 1903, when

Henry Ford and 11 business associates signed the company’s articles of

incorporation. With $28,000 in cash, the pioneering1 industrialists gave

birth to what was to become one of the world’s largest corporations. Few

companies are as closely identified with the history and development of

industry and society throughout the 220th century as Ford Motor Company.

As with most great enterprises, Ford Motor Company’s beginnings were

modest. The company had anxious moments in its infancy2 The earliest record

of a shipment is July 20, 1903, approximately one month after

incorporation, to a Detroit physician3. With the company’s first sale came

hope—a young Ford Motor Company had taken its first steps.

Mass Production on the Line

Perhaps Ford Motor Company’s single greatest contribution to automotive

manufacturing was the moving assembly line. First implemented at the

Highland Park pplant (in Michigan, US) in 1913, the new technique allowed

individual workers to stay in one place and perform the same task

repeatedly on multiple vehicles that passed by them. The line proved

tremendously4 efficient, helping the company far surpass the production

levels of ttheir competitors and making the vehicles more affordable5.

The First Vehicles

Henry Ford insisted that the company’s future lay6 in the production of

affordable cars for a mass market. Beginning in 1903, the company began

using the first 19 letters of the alphabet to name new cars. In 1908, the

Model T was born. 19 years and 15 million Model T’s later, Ford Motor

Company was a giant industrial complex that spanned7 the globe. The years

between the world wars were a period of hectic expansion. In 1917, Ford

Motor Company began producing trucks and tractors. In 1919 a conflict with

stockholders over the millions to be spent building the giant Rouge

manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan led to the company becoming

wholly owned by Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, who then succeeded his

father as president. In 1925, Ford Motor Company acquired8 the Lincoln

Motor Company, thus branching out into luxury cars, and in the 1930’s, the

Mercury division was created to establish a division centered on mid-priced

cars. Ford Motor Company was growing.

Becoming a Global Company

In the 50’s came the Thunderbird and the chance to own a part of Ford Motor

Company. The company went public and, on Feb. 24, 1956, had about 350,000

new stockholders. Henry Ford II’s keen9 perception10 of political and

economic trends in the 50’s led to the global expansion of FMC in the 60’s,

and the establishment of Ford of Europe in 1967, 20 years ahead of the

European Economic Community’s arrival. The company established its North

American Automotive Operations in 1971, consolidating11 U.S., Canadian, and

Mexican operations more than two decades12 ahead of the North American Free

Trade Agreement.

Ford Motor Company started the last century with a single man

envisioning13 products that would meet the needs of people in a world on

the verge of high-gear industrialization. Today, Ford Motor Company is a

family of automotive brands consisting of: Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda,

Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, and Volvo. The company is beginning its

second century of existence with a worldwide organization that retains and

expands Henry Ford’s heritage14 by developing products that serve the

varying and ever-changing needs of people in the global community.

Henry Ford

Industrialist, inventor. Born July 30, 1863 in Dearborn, Michigan,

into a farming family. The first child of William and Mary Ford, he was

taught largely by his mother, who instilled in him a strong sense of

responsibility, duty, and self-reliance.Ford grew up on a farm and might

easily have remained in agriculture. But something stronger pulled at

Ford’s imagination: mechanics, machinery, understanding how things worked

and wwhat new possibilities lay in store. As a young boy, he took apart

everything he got his hands on. He quickly became known around the

neighborhood for fixing people’s watches and became an excellent self-

taught mechanic and machinist. At age 16 he left the farm and went to

nearby Detroit, a city that was process of becoming an industrial giant.

There he worked as an apprentice15 at a machine shop. Months later he began

to work with steam engines at the Detroit Dry Dock Co., where he first saw

the internal combustion16 engine, the kind of engine he would later use to

make his automobiles. When he was 28 Ford took a job with Thomas Edison’s

Detroit Illuminating Company, where he became chief engineer.

In his spare time he began to build his first car, the Quadricycle. It

resembled17 two bicycles positioned side by side with spindly18 bicycle-

like wheels, a bicycle seat, and a barely visible engine frame. Some said

it bore a resemblance19 to a baby carriage with a two-cylinder engine.. It

was the first „horselesscarriage“ that he actually built. It’s a far cry

from today’s cars and even from what he produced a few years later, but in

a way it’s the starting point of Ford’s career as a businessman. Until the

Quadricycle, Ford’s tinkering had been experimental, theoretical—like the

gas engine he built on his kitchen table in the 1890’s, which was just an

engine with nothing to power. The Quadricycle showed enough popularity and

potential that it launched the beginning of Ford’s business ventures. In

June 1896, Ford took an historic ride in his first automobile that was

observed by many curious Detroit on-lookers. The Quadricycle broke down in

a humiliating20 scene. By 1899 Ford created a more proper-looking motorcar

with the help of wealthy businessman William Murphy. It had high wheels, a

padded21 double bench, brass lamps, mud guards, and a „racy“ look. In the

same year Ford founded the Detroit Automobile Company. Within 3 years Ford

had built an improved, more reliable Quadricycle, using a four-cylinder, 36

horsepower-racing engine. In 1901 Ford car beat what was then the world’s

fastest automobile in a race before a crowd of eight thousand people in

Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

The publicity he received for this victory allowed Ford to finance a

practical laboratory for refining22 his auto ideas. In 1903 Ford launched

his own car company, The Ford Motor Car Company, and by January 1904 he had

sold 658 vehicles. By 1908 he built the famous Model T(about this model I

will write in the future) a car that

was affordable to the middle class.

The automobile was no longer the toy of the rich. Sales of the Model T


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