Ford was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge (who would later found their own car company). During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car from components made to order by other companies. Henry Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world's largest and most profitable companies, as well as being one to survive the Great Depression. As one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world, the Ford Motor Company has been in continuous family control for over 100 years.
Members of the board as of early 2007 are: Chief Sir John Bond, Richard Manoogian, Stephen Butler, Ellen Marram, Kimberly Casiano, Alan Mulally (President and CEO), Edsel Ford II, Homer Neal, William Clay Ford Jr., Jorma Ollila, Irvine Hockaday Jr., John L. Thornton and William Clay Ford (Director Emeritus).
The main corporate officers are: Lewis Booth (Executive Vice President, Chairman (PAG) and Ford of Europe), Mark Fields (Executive Vice President, President of The Americas), Donat Leclair (Executive Vice President and CFO), Mark A. Schulz (Executive Vice President, President of International Operations) and Michael E. Bannister (Group Vice President; Chairman & CEO Ford Motor Credit). Paul Mascarenas (Vice President of Engineering, The Americas Product Development)
Recent company developments
During the mid to late 1990s, Ford sold large numbers of vehicles, in a booming American economy with soaring stock market and low fuel prices. With the dawn of the new century, legacy healthcare costs, higher fuel prices, and a faltering economy led to falling market shares, declining sales, and sliding profit margins. Most of the corporate profits came from financing consumer automobile loans through Ford Motor Credit Company.
By 2005, corporate bond rating agencies had downgraded the bonds of both Ford and GM to junk status, citing high U.S. health care costs for an aging workforce, soaring gasoline prices, eroding market share, and dependence on declining SUV sales for revenues. Profit margins decreased on large vehicles due to increased "incentives" (in the form of rebates or low interest financing) to offset declining demand.
In the face of demand for higher fuel efficiency and falling sales of minivans, Ford moved to introduce a range of new vehicles, including "Crossover SUVs" built on unibody car platforms, rather than more body-on-frame chassis. In developing the hybrid electric powertrain technologies for the Ford Escape Hybrid SUV, Ford licensed similar Toyota hybrid technologies to avoid patent infringements. Ford announced that it will team up with electricity supply company Southern California Edison (SCE) to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford. 
In December 2006, the company raised its borrowing capacity to about $25 billion, placing substantially all corporate assets as collateral to secure the line of credit. Chairman Bill Ford has stated that "bankruptcy is not an option". In order to control its skyrocketing labor costs (the most expensive in the world), the company and the United Auto Workers, representing approximately 46,000 hourly workers in North America, agreed to a historic contract settlement in November of 2007 giving the company a substantial break in terms of its ongoing retiree health care costs and other economic issues. The agreement includes the establishment of a company-funded, independently-run Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (more commonly known as a VEBA) trust to shift the burden of retiree health care from the company's books, thereby improving its balance sheet. However, this arrangement will not begin to take effect until January 1, 2010. The agreement also gives hourly workers the job security they were seeking by having the company commit to substantial investments in most of its factories.
The automaker reported the largest annual loss in company history in 2006 of $12.7 billion, and estimated that it would not return to profitability until 2009. However, Ford surprised Wall Street in the second quarter of 2007 by posting a $750 million profit. Despite the gains, the company finished the year with a $2.7 billion loss, largely attributed to finance restructuring at Volvo.
In March 2008, Ford announced that it has reached agreement to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover operations to Tata Motors for $2.3 billion. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2008. It is understood that Ford Motor Company Ltd. will not retain any shareholding in either the Jaguar or Land-Rover companies, unlike Aston Martin where on its sale a small shareholding was retained; when the total sum to be paid in cash by Tata Motors of approximately US$2.3 billion, Ford will then contribute up to US $600 million to the Jaguar Land Rover pension plans.
In January 2008, Ford launched a website listing the 10 Built Ford Tough Rules as well as a series of webisodes that parodies the show COPS (TV Series).
source from: www.wikipedia.org