Ford Motor Co. AG
The earliest presence of the Ford Company in Germany was a parts operation set up in Hamburg in 1912. It was not until 1925 that an assembly plant was constructed in Berlin where Model T trucks were made from imported parts. Cars followed in 1926.
In 1931 production moved to a new plant in Cologne on a site made available by the mayor of the city, Konrad Adenauer and an increasing proportion of the vehicles was made in Germany rather than imported. The first car off the new production line was the Model A joined in 1932 by the Model B.
Small car manufacture started in 1933 with the Ford Köln, a year after its British launch as the Model Y, but it did not have the same impact in Germany as it did in Britain as it was undercut in price by the small Opel.
The Ford Rheinland was a unique model for the German market made by fitting a 3285 cc engine into a Model B V-8 chassis but most products continued to be Detroit designs albeit with local names. The Eifel was the German version of the 10 hp sold in Britain as the Model C and this was joined in 1939 by the first of the long running Taunus range.
The company was re-organised in 1939 and changed its name to Ford-Werke. With the outbreak of war, car production continued at first with the Taunus being made until 1942 but increasingly military production took over. In spite of the heavy bombing of Cologne, the factory got off relatively lightly and after the war production was able to restart in May 1945 with truck manufacture, the US government having paid $1.1 million in consideration of bombing damage. Car making restarted in late 1948 with the Taunus. Henry Ford II visited the factory in 1948 during his visit to Germany when he was considering the purchase of Volkswagen which he did not proceed with.
In 1952 a new Taunus appeared and this had much in common with the British Ford products and was a great success enabling record production figures to be reached. The company was now being run by Ehrhart Vitger and he spent time recruiting new dealers to replace those lost in East Germany but the company continued to rank third in sales in Germany behind VW and Opel.
The launch of the Ford Escort in 1968 marked the end of unique models in European countries and followed the creation of Ford Europe in 1967 from the assets of the British and German operations but the corporate entities continued for some time.
- Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.