Henry Ford & Son 100 years in Ireland

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Henry Ford & Son 100 years in Ireland


One hundred years ago this year the Henry Ford established a Ford Motor factory in Cork City.


In 2017, it will be one hundred years since the Ford Motor Company set up in Ireland and as part of the celebrations, Ford Ireland is planning a number of events and campaigns to mark the centenary.




Ciarán McMahon, Chairman and Managing Director of Ford Ireland, said: “Ford has a unique heritage in Ireland, not only through the company’s close family links with Cork but also through the Cork Ford factory, and of course many decades of much-loved Ford cars and vans on Irish roads.”



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The son of an Irish immigrant, William Ford, who left Ireland in the 1840’s, Henry Ford set up his Motor Company in Michigan in 1903 and it was 14 years later when Henry opened the world's first purpose-built Ford factory located outside of North America in Cork, Ireland.


Henry Ford hoped that the new Ford plant in Cork ‘would start Ireland along the road to industry’ and the building of the Cork Ford plant was probably the first example of foreign direct investment in Ireland decades before the term was even coined.


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The Ford company was legally registered in Ireland as Henry Ford & Son Ltd. That name still continues to this day as the legal name of Ford in Ireland. In fact, Ireland’s Ford company is the only Ford entity in the world to include the full name of the company’s founder in its title.


The factory in Cork, which in 1929 became the largest tractor factory in the world was used to produce the Fordson tractor.  The factory also produced passenger models, including the iconic Model T. Besides the famous Model T, Ford continued to build vehicles that were sold in Europe from the 1930s, right up to the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the models manufactured in Cork were the Model A, Model BF, Model Y, Prefect, Anglia, Escort, Cortina & Sierra.


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Another amazing fact is that the last Model T ever produced by Ford anywhere in the world was built in the Cork factory production line in December 1928.


Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 and many new regulations were introduced into Ireland which had to be complied with. As a result of the EEC rules, previous restrictions on imports of fully built motor vehicles into the country had to be lifted. Combined with the depressed car market in the late 1970s and early 1980s the Ford factory in Cork became no longer viable and it was finally closed in 1984.


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One of the highlights of the Ford centenary celebrations will be a gala dinner event at Cork City Hall on April 21st. Along with these events, Ford has also launched a new marketing campaign featuring the Irish-American actor Aidan Quinn and will be based around the company’s Irish centenary and encouraging consumers to think about the brand differently.


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