2005 sales numbers placed the Ford Motor Company as the third largest automaker in the world, which means that the company's come a long way since the days of Henry Ford telling people his cars came in "any color you want, as long as it's black." Based in Dearborn, Michigan, the Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 and since than has expanded to become one the ten largest corporations (by revenue) in the world. Encompassing not just the original Ford brand, but also Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo, as well as a one-third controlling interest in Mazda, it was also one of the world's most profitable corporations in 1999.
Fords success has diminished a little - since 1995 it has lost market share in the US for eleven years in a row. In December of last year the company said that it expects Toyota to surpass it as the number two car maker in the US, but January 2007 sales numbers actually placed it third, behind not only Toyota, but DaimlerChrysler as well. What has not diminished is Ford's contribution to the auto industry. This is the company that invented methods for large-scale car manufacturing, and equally large-scale management of an industrial workforce, as well as pioneering automation and efficiency technology like moving assembly lines.
The combination of efficient factories, well-paid workers, and low prices that Henry Ford created - known as Fordism - revolutionized the manufacturing world. Today, the Ford company still has family running the show - and they are still being innovative - CEO Bill Ford was one of the first top industry executives to make regular use of an electric car, the battery-electric powered Ford Ranger EV. The company then contracted with the United States Postal Service to use the Ranger EV platforms for a line of electric postal vans. In addition, Ford is designing alternative fuel vehicles like some versions of the Crown Victoria, which runs on CNG, or compressed natural gas.
With the Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford became the third car maker to offer a hybrid, and the first to offer a hybrid electric SUV. In addition, the Escape Hybrid will be the first such vehicle with a flexible fuel capability to run on E85. While they had originally planned to manufacture 250,000 hybrids a year by 2010, the company has had to back down from that commitment, instead channeling their energies into accelerating the development of next-gen hybrid-electric power plants in Britan, working, and it has already launched the production of hydrogen-powered shuttle busses, which use hydrogen instead of gasoline, for use at airports and convention centers. It is with forward-thinking like this that Ford will remain an important player on the automotive industry field.