If one would have to choose an invention of the past century that changed the world the most one would have to think of Henry Ford and his first automobile. Ford T was introduced to the world in 1908 and changed the face of it forever.
The car was easy to drive, easy to repair and – what turned out to be the most important factor determining its enormous success – easy to afford. The huge popularity of Ford T (over 15 millions of units sold) shortly promoted the mere idea of automobilism and a lot of other car companies emerged shortly. The Ford Motor Company remains one of the largest automobile producers worldwide and more than a century of experience – is also one of the most respected.
Ford as a global corporation
Of course, Ford Motor Company started as a single car factory in the suburbs of Detroit. Nowadays the firm is present on five continents and employs more than 213 thousands of workers in 90 facilities around the globe. One of its most efficient branches is Ford Espana, Spanish branch founded in the seventies by Henry Ford II, the grandson of Henry Ford. The first Ford to leave the Spanish factory in Almussafes, near Valencia, was Ford Fiesta, manufactured in 1976. What is noteworthy, is that Ford Motor Company remained controlled by the Ford family and currently is under the management of William C. Ford Jr.
How to build a reputation
There are two main factors taken into account while purchasing a car – it’s its price and its reputation. The policy of Ford is to find the right balance between reliability and price. More than 100 years of devoted customers proves that the company is good at it. Gaining trust is a lengthy process, while losing it is on the other hand relatively easy. That’s why Ford Espana must address the needs of all groups of customers while keeping the perfection in the production process. To ensure the highest availability of its automobiles, Ford have established a wide and highly professional dealer network. These dealers concentrate on customer service with important emphasis on the after sales services.
A Ford for you, a Ford for me
Currently Ford Espana has an incredibly wide offer of cars, both for professional and leisure applications. The company is implementing a Kinetic Design in most of its new models – a design that brings associations with the cars’ dynamism and agility. Ford’s offer is matching the market’s expectations – anyone can find a vehicle for oneself. From the city oriented Ford Ka and Ford Fiesta, to family vans like S-MAX and Galaxy. Ford major hit - Ford Focus is available in many different variations, including Ford Focus Coupe-Cabrio, an automobile with an automatic roof. For any businessmen out there, there’s Ford Mondeo, a car so elegant that it would make any man seem that much classier. Continuing years of traditions, all of these cars are manufactured with state-of-the-art equipment by the best Spanish engineers and are available at a reasonable, affordable price.
The importance of going forward
This offer is constantly evolving and expanding. Ford’s R&D department is invariably working to match the produced vehicles to its customers’ needs. One example of such innovative manufacturing is the Powershift automatic gearbox – a solution that will be implemented in the majority of vehicles leaving Ford’s factories, including the one in Spain. New models are also presented this year. But while the new model of the acclaimed Focus is gaining a lot of the attention, one must not forget about new models of C-MAX and Galaxy. These cars, accompanied by last year launches, Ka, Kuga and Fiesta are pointing out the direction of which the company is headed. The path it follows sure seems innovative and the company is proud of the quality-price relation it can offer to its customers.
What has changed in the past two years
In the following years the company will keep shifting its attention towards an individual customer. This strategy keeps paying off as 93 per cent of sold cars last year came from that sector in the market. This is obviously correlated with the economy crisis that Ford must face as a key player in the automotive industry – one of the most affected industries nowadays. The industry looks nothing like it used to 2 years ago both in types and volumes of cars sold. People are being more rational while making purchasing decisions especially when it comes to such big purchases as automobiles. Customers motives are more down to earth and in line with their real need than it used to be a couple of years ago. This forced necessary changes in the structure of company. The enterprise had to rethink its strategy and adjust to the new reality. New Ford Focus is a car designed as an answer to today’s economy.
People who make good cars
More than 6500 people are on the payroll of Ford Espana. These people mostly work two shifts of manufacturing with the capability to produce 1460 vehicles, models Fiesta and Focus. Ford Espana puts a great deal of emphasis to the development of its staff, giving them every chance to become better engineers. The company has a training center and a college, which offers all kinds of training: technical, computer training, HR training, quality management training and much more. The company’s motto states “Train to succeed” and considering the effort the company puts to grow hand in hand with its employees, it seems accurate.
Corporate social responsibilities...
Maintaining its corporate culture, Ford Espana is trying to positively affect its environment. Due to that policy the company is implementing its Social Action Plan which has three important foundations. First is the indirect employment of people with disabilities. Indeed, Ford Espana is participating in Business and Disability program conducted by Business and Society Foundation. Moreover, Ford Espana itself has more than 300 people with disabilities on its payroll. It is noteworthy however that Ford also helps find such employment indirectly, through various innovation and logistic centers that the company cooperates with. Another foundation of social responsibilities of the enterprise is the opportunity for every employee to take sixteen hours yearly of paid leave to do various volunteer work. Last but not least, Ford has developed numerous programs to support local NGO’s, including some significant fundraising. All of this to ensure, that Ford has not only changed the world but tries also to change Spain.
...and ecological awareness
All of the aforementioned social responsibilities would not mean much if the company wasn’t also self-aware of the pollution problem. Indeed, Ford is developing vehicles that would consume less gas and dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emission to the atmosphere. Ford recently implemented an exhaust system to its vehicles – specifically models Fiesta and Focus – with CO2 emission below 99 grams per kilometer. These automobiles will shortly be followed by bigger cars – S-MAX and Galaxy with EcoBoost Engines and CO2 emission below 160 grams per kilometer. The strategy also involves launching hybrid cars and electric cars in the near future. Naturally, Ford is putting every effort to minimize the pollution generated during the production process in order to keep the environment safe. During the years Ford Espana has been awarded numerous environmental and technological certificates for its top notch manufacturing process.
Whatever future brings, Ford will be there
Only 17 percent of the production volume finds its place on the domestic market. The rest of the vehicles are mostly being shipped through Valencia seaport and goes to various European and African markets. Germany, Greece, Belgium, Netherlands, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Tunisia and Turkey can be found among the most frequent directions. This sort of global approach is necessary in order to produce excellent vehicles. Due to globally launched program called “One Ford” most of the cars produced nowadays are designed to be marketed globally. This is the way to remain competitive. Of course, the enterprise is aware of several markets condition, particularly in Europe and henceforth designs products that will match the customers’ expectations. As a smart and flexible company, during such hard times like these Ford is not trying to change the world. It is letting the world change Ford.
Written by Łukasz Światowiec