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How Much Ford Can You Afford?

What is legendary Ford company’s standing in the world of auto-makers?

February 24, 2002

What is legendary Ford company's standing in the world of auto-makers?

Ford Motor Company is among America’s greatest success stories. Founded nearly 100 years ago, the company now sells millions of cars worldwide. The last two years, however, have not been kind to Ford, which endured both a controversy involving Firestone tires used on its Ford Explorer SUVs and major financial losses. The company recently called upon its chairman and CEO — founder Henry Ford’s great-grandson William Clay Ford, Jr. — to appear in TV commercials. Our new Globalist Factsheet explores Ford’s long history and its present woes.

How big is Ford worldwide?

As of 2000, Ford Motor Company ranked fourth among the world’s largest companies in revenues.


How many cars does Ford sell every year?

Ford sold about 6.5 million vehicles in developed countries worldwide in 2000 — and about 800,000 in developing countries.

(Wall Street Journal)

How much of the company does the Ford family still control?

The Ford family holds 40% of the voting power at the company as long as it continues to own at least 60 million shares of Class B stock. At the same time, all Class B shares represent only 6% of the company’s overall equity.

(New York Times)

What is Ford’s share of the U.S. auto market?

In the early 1920s, the Ford Motor Company had a 55% share of the U.S. car market, compared to 22.8% in 2001.

(American Heritage)

When did Ford lose its position as the largest U.S. automaker?

In 1931, Ford lost its lead in the car market to General Motors.


Has time reduced the actual cost of Ford’s automobiles?

A 1999 Ford Taurus — loaded with safety features plus air conditioning and CD-player — costs 70% less in real dollar terms than did the Ford Model T.

(New Republic)

How large did Ford become in its first two decades of operation?

In 1923, Ford’s output reached 1.8 million cars — as many as China produced in the late 1990s.

(Washington Post)

How important are car companies to the U.S. economy?

General Motors and Ford — with annual sales of $185 and $170 billion, respectively — each count for a full percentage point of U.S. GDP.

(New York Times)

What is Ford’s market capitalization?

As of May 2001, Ford’s market capitalization stood at $53 billion, compared to GM’s market capitalization of $30 billion. By January 2002, Ford’s market capitalization had dropped to $27.2 billion, whereas GM’s had only slipped to $27.8 billion.

(The Globalist)

How did Ford shares develop in the new millennium?

$10,000 invested in Ford shares in January 2000 was worth just $5,850 in December 2001.

(Wall Street Journal)

What were Ford’s losses for the year 2001?

In the second and third quarters of 2001, Ford amassed losses of $1.4 billion — its worst string of quarterly losses since 1992.

(Wall Street Journal)

Did that have any effects on production?

In 2002, planned cutbacks in Ford’s North American operations will reduce capacity by 17% — from 5.7 million vehicles a year to 4.8 million vehicles.

(Wall Street Journal)

How popular is the Ford Explorer SUV?

The Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle was the best-selling U.S. family vehicle of 2000, with sales rising by 3.8%, to 445,157 — despite five months of negative national press on the failure of the Firestone tires used on Explorers.

(New York Times)

What other cars does Ford “make”?

Ford’s acquisition of Sweden’s Volvo means that the company now manufactures seven brands — Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Volvo.

(The Economist)

What pledges has Ford made on the environment?

In 2000, Ford pledged to improve by 25% the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles by 2005.

(Wall Street Journal)

Is there unanimity within Ford over the Kyoto Protocol?

Before being acquired in 1999 by Ford, Volvo publicly supported the Kyoto agreement. It still does — but the larger Ford Motor Company does not support the environmental treaty.

(Wall Street Journal)