Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Edsel would be proud! Ford Family unifies and keeps the faith!

You're all probably scratching your heads and geting ready to correct me, telling me that it's Henry Ford that would be proud of his Family's actions recently, but bear with me, in my opinion it's Edsel that would be proudest. If you read the New York Times Article, linked in the title, you'll read how the Ford Family met earlier this year and decided to stay the course with the Way Forward. 35 members of the family met and talked with Alan Mulally about the direction the company is taking. And it was an overwhelming show of force and faith in the company.
It's true that old man Henry started the company, but it's the spirit of Edsel that is probably proudest of the family's actions. While his father thought his purchase of Lincoln and starting of Mercury to be distractions, it was Edsel that really shaped the modern Ford Motor Company and I mean that in a very real way. It was Edsel that in the mid 20's started development of the Model A, Ford's first "modern" car. It was Henry, who upon discovering the prototype on a stroll through the factory one day, destroyed it with a sledgehammer. It was Edsel that talked his father into buying the failing Lincoln Motors and in 1939 starting the Mercury brand as a step up from Ford, competing with rival GM's Pontiac and Chrysler's Plymouth brands.

Edsel was just as much a car guy as his famous father and like him rubbed elbows with the movers and shakers of the time. That's Edsel on the left and Admiral Byrd in the center.
It was Edsel's offspring that to this day run the company.

In 1943 it was Edsel's son Henry II "The Deuce" that stepped in after his father's death brought grandpa back to Dearborn and nearly sent FoMoCo into the history books. Henry II reluctantly took control from grandpa and his goon Bennet, with the support of his grandmother Clara.
Continuing a Family control of the company into the toughest and best times Ford would see.
And after The Deuce's death in 1987 the family began quarterly meetings that continue to this day.

And Edsel's grandson and Henry's nephew, Bill Ford jr is not the only Ford family member to work at the family business. There are 5 family members, including Henry III.
So, again I say, Edsel would be proud and he should be.
106 years this family has put the world on wheels and while I won't discount Henry I's legacy, it's important to remember the contributions made by following generations and the fact that it's still a family afair.

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