Ford Motor Company (England) Limited was incorporated on 8 March 1911, opening its first office in London on Shaftesbury Avenue. Later that year, the disused tram works at Trafford Park was converted into Ford’s first UK factory, assembling the Model T.
Today, Ford directly employs more than 15,000 people in the UK, many in highly skilled roles developing and building high-technology, fuel-efficient, low CO2 engines. A further 100,000 jobs in Britain are supported through the Ford dealer network and supply chain. The company has led UK car sales for 34 consecutive years and commercial vehicle sales for 45 years.
The British-built Model T on display at SMMT is believed to be one of the oldest in the UK, rolling off the production line at Trafford Park in 1912. The Transit Van on show is a SWB Low Roof variant assembled at the Swaythling plant in Southampton, where the model has been built since 1972. The new Focus is powered by a Bridgend-built 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine. The plants at Bridgend and Dagenham have the combined capacity to assemble two million engines annually, meaning that one in three Ford cars around the world is powered by a UK engine.
Ford of Britain Chairman and SMMT Deputy President, Joe Greenwell, said, “Ford of Britain has been in the fabric of the nation for over a hundred years and no motor company has touched more lives in Britain. We have a proud heritage and a bright future. Ford of Britain is a major pillar of Ford’s global strategy and the new Ford Focus, centrepiece of the centenary, features advanced powertrains developed and produced in the UK.”
Click through the slideshow below to see all the photos from SMMT’s exhibition space: