Five Ford Innovations that Changed the Game

December 28th, 2023 by

It’s a story we all know to be myth by now. No, Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile – he merely perfected it to such a degree that he might as well have. 

That said, the founder of Ford Motor Company didn’t lack when it came to revolutionary inventions and innovations. From Henry Ford’s early twentieth century run that established modern practices of mass production and employee benefits, to newer applications such as blind spot technology, Ford has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge ideas.

Today, Billy Wood Ford takes a deeper look at the five most crucial ways Ford has altered the landscape of the auto industry. 

Moving Assembly Line & Mass Production 

Automobile manufacturing changed forever following Ford’s implementation of the moving assembly line. By using a conveyer belt, Ford assembly plants were able to efficiently move the product to the worker, rather than having employees scramble around facilities. After a series of trial and error, the process was perfected at the Highland Park assembly plant in 1913. Soon, new automobiles were being fully assembled in just 90 minutes. 

In addition to the assembly line, Ford introduced standardization, which reduced production costs and increased efficiency by incorporating standardized parts that could be used on different models.  

Model T 

Perhaps the auto industry’s first mic drop, the Ford Model T was mass produced from 1908 to 1927. In that span, it established itself as the first mass-affordable automobile, resulting in car travel becoming available to middle-class America. Thanks to savings stemming from mass production, the average price of the Model T dropped from $780 in 1910 to $290 in 1924 – a truly staggering number, especially when adjusted to today’s standards. 

Thanks to the moving assembly line and its interchangeable parts, the Model T (nickname: “the Tin Lizzie”) became the most popular vehicle in the world by an outrageous margin. By the early 1920s, more than half of registered automobiles throughout the world were Fords, with over 15 million Model T’s built and sold during that span. 

$5 Wage / 5-Day Workweek 

When Henry Ford proposed in 1914 that all Ford employees be compensated at five dollars per workday, it sent a shockwave through the working community – and for good reason. Five dollars per day translates to $153 per day in 2023 after adjusting for inflation. That’s good for $19 an hour, well above 2023’s federal minimum wage of $7.25. 

Then, in 1926, Ford introduced another now-standard workplace practice with the five-day workweek. Though it was driven by the expectation that worker productivity would increase if given more leisure time, Ford also believed giving workers more time to purchase and consume goods would be good for the bottom line. The idea passed the test of time; nearly a century later, we’re still looking at ways to further expand on Ford’s vision and bump the workweek down to four days… 

The Trimotor Plane 

One of the great “What If’s” in automotive history is the Ford Airplane Division, which shut down in 1933 during the throes of the Great Depression. When Ford entered the aviation business during World War I, all they did was introduce the Trimotor Plane, an aptly-named, three motor plane. Able to seat twelve, the Trimotor became the United States’ first successful passenger airliner.  

You can’t help but wonder what Ford could have further accomplished in the aviation space if not for the economic circumstances. Unfortunately, in this case, the sky was literally the limit. 

Blind Spot Monitoring 

For decades, drivers changed lanes with little more than three rear mirrors and their own intuition. That changed with the introduction of Ford’s BLIS (Blind Spot Information System). BLIS is responsible for detecting vehicles in your blind spot and alerting you to their presence. It has since paved the way for a bevy of modern collision-avoidance technology. 

While Volvo was technically the first manufacturer to introduce this feature to the public, Ford’s 1995 concept car, the GT90, was the first vehicle fitted with modern blind spot technology. Ford unveiled its version of blind spot monitoring to a mass audience in 2009 with the 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid. 

Reinvent Your Driving Future 

Ford continues to innovate to this day and are currently focused on expanding the reach of EV technology. With plans to put over 40 EVs and hybrid models on the road within the next decade, Ford’s next step seems to be the complete electrification of the majority of its fleet. 

For instance, at Billy Wood Ford you can check out the Mustang Mach-E, an electric SUV with an EPA-estimated range of 310 miles. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel before you’re prepared to do so; whether you need new brakes or an oil change, our Service Center is here keep your current ride humming into the new year and beyond. 

Posted in Ford History