Ford’s Evolution: From a Production Line to a Shopping Centre 

The Ford Smart Lab is paving the way for consumers to experience our vehicles without needing to visit a dealership. By understanding Ford’s unique and innovative history, it’s not surprising that we continue to change the way consumers engage with the automotive industry.

The beginnings of Ford Motor Company started in June 1903 in Michigan, when Henry Ford and 11 other investors signed to incorporate the company. Henry Ford had previously ventured into building cars such as the ‘Ford Quadricycle’, which would serve as the prototype of the Model A: the first motorcar produced by Ford. By 1908, the Model T was introduced and was the first mass manufactured vehicle, selling 15 million models until May 1927 when production ceased. These extraordinary sales figures are undoubtedly linked to one of Ford’s greatest innovations; the moving assembly line.

(1896 ‘Ford Quadricycle’)

Within 18 months, the moving assembly line reduced chassis assembly time from 12.5 hours to 1.5 hours. By revolutionising the manufacturing process which accelerated speeds and reduced costs, Ford was once again found in the spotlight for its wage offer of “$5 per day” for all Ford employees - double the average daily wage of the time. This increase allowed employees the opportunity to purchase and own the vehicles they helped produced, placing more Fords’ on the road.

In 1932, Henry Ford had developed another innovative idea that would take precedence over all other production operations; to build the first commercially successful flathead V8 engine. Henry identified a market gap with a need for a more powerful performance based engine, and decided to incur a large amount of expenses in research and development to make this project successful. The engine remained in production for over 22 years and is still extremely popular with hot rod enthusiasts. 

(1932 Flathead V8 Engine)

Ford has also been at the forefront of creating vehicles that are environmentally friendly and in tune with today’s current concerns. In 1996, Ford produced the Ford Ranger Electric vehicle, which was a precursor to today’s electric vehicles and hybrid energy systems. More recently, in 2009, Ford combined three key technologies to deliver an EcoBoost engine that saw a 20% increase in fuel efficiency and was more environmentally sustainable than any previous engine produced by Ford.

(1976 Fiesta vs 2006 Fiesta)

To further demonstrate Ford’s commitment to being environmentally friendly, Ford has developed a plan for the next 30 years to be completely carbon neutral by 2050. This can be achieved by focusing on their shorter-term goal to use 100% locally sourced renewable energy such as hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar. This commitment also involves more than $11.5 billion (USD) invested in 2022 into the development of electric vehicles offered for all passenger vehicles that are currently in Ford’s range.

To bring us back to present day, the Ford Smart Lab at Macquarie Shopping centre is the latest Ford innovation available to the Australian market, aiming to make the automotive retail experience easier and more accessible to customers. 

(Escape Hybrid 2020)

If you’d like any more information about Ford or would like any of your questions answered, visit us at the Ford Smart Lab!

Written by Catherine Stanislaus and Nikhil Balakrishnan, July 2020.