Ford is a family-owned business. Henry Ford was the sole owner until he named his son, Edsel B. Ford, president in 1919. When Edsel died in 1942, Henry Ford came out of retirement until poor health led him to name his grandson, Henry Ford II, as president in 1945. More recently, Bill Ford Jr., great-grandson of Henry Ford, held several executive positions that included CEO in 2001, President and COO in 2006, and Executive Chairman from 2006 to the present day. Alan Mulally, a former senior Boeing executive, was given the title of CEO in September 2006. His directive was to restructure the company, bring focus back to the company's core competencies, and reclaim profits and market share. As of early 2009, the Ford family's preferred stock position allows the family to maintain an approximately 40-percent voting stake in the company.
- Founded : June 16, 1903
- Founder : Henry Ford
- Headquarters : Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
- Website : http://www.ford.com
Several Ford product lines were influential in developing and maintaining the current product lineup. The first Ford F-Series was introduced in 1948 and has been a solid and affordable truck in the following five decades, even as it established itself as one of the most popular vehicles in America. The Ford Thunderbird arrived in showrooms in 1955 as a two-seat sports car with a V-8 engine and went on to become a high-profile personal luxury coupe. The Ford Falcon, built from 1960-1970, offered a reasonably priced car in numerous shapes and sizes. Inspired by the Falcon's success, Ford introduced a new model, the Mustang, that helped spark the youth performance market. The Ford Taurus family sedan was introduced in 1985 and was, for several years in the early 1990s, the best-selling car in America despite its adventurous styling.
Beyond working to maintain broad customer appeal, Ford has been attentive to the niche performance market with its SVT tuning division and a racing presence in NASCAR, sports-car racing, and rallying.
Ford has endured strategic mistakes during its tenure in the US. For example, the launch of the Ford Pinto in 1970 proved to be a huge customer safety issue, as the fuel tank was not insulated enough to be protected in rear-end collisions. Ford invested heavily in promoting Premier Automotive Group in 1999, only to dissolve it by selling its members (Jaguar, Land Rover, and majority stake in Aston Martin.) The Ford Explorer/Firestone controversy caused bad publicity and recalls in 2000.
In recent years, Ford has invested heavily to design and sell vehicles that are more efficient and environmentally friendly, a direction influenced largely by Bill Ford Jr.
The Hybrid Electric Escape was the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market when it was introduced in 2004. In 2005 the Focus FCV was one of the industry's first hybrid fuel cell vehicles. Ford has several vehicle lines that offer flexible fuel as an option and has used its strong fleet sales to introduce and use these new models. Higher efficiency crossover vehicles like the Ford Freestyle and the Ford Edge were launched as alternatives to the larger SUVs. To promote safety while driving, Ford partnered with Microsoft and developed SYNC, a voice-activated in-car communication and entertainment system available on select 2008 models.