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The History of Ford in Ireland

Over 160 years ago, Henry Ford's grandfather John and Father William left their Irish homeland in search of prosperity in the 'New World'


Never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that William's eldest son would grow up to establish one of the greatest business empires in the world. Henry Ford's inventions and production methods were to change the lives of millions and the effects of his genius would be felt all over the world - not least in the land of his ancestors


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1910's
1917

Company Registered in Ireland

April 17: Henry Ford registers Henry Ford & Sons as a limited company.

1917

Ford plant being built in Cork

Work continues on the new factory site at the Marina, on the site of the former Cork Racecourse.

1918
1919

Production in Cork up and running

July 3: The first Fordson tractor leaves the Cork plant.

1919
1920's
1923

Assembly of Model-T Begins

The Cork plant starts assembly of the Model-T which had been manufactured since 1908 and was regarded as the first affordable motor car for the masses.

1923

Vehicle Assembly becomes Factory Focus

December 29: Tractor production ceases in Cork plant and assembly of vehicles becomes the primary focus in Ireland

1922

Sporting Success

The Fordsons factory soccer team becomes the first team from Cork to win the FAI cup

1926

Manufacture of Model T Ends

The last Model T ever to be built in the world rolls off the Cork production line

1927

Tractor production returns to Cork

The Marina becomes the world's largest tractor factory

1929
1930's
1938

Ford Open Dagenham Plant in UK

Dagenham becomes a popular place of employment for Corkonians, who earn the nickname 'Dagenham Yanks'

1931

The 25,000th vehicle

The Cork plant celebrates the production of its 25,000th vehicle

1938
1940's
1946

Cork factory ceases production

Production at the Cork factory ceases as vital components became impossible to obtain during World War II. Workers produce tools for general use and equipment for the Irish Army instead.

1942

The first post-war car assembled in Cork

A 10hp Prefect leaves the production line to become the first post-war car assembled at Cork

1946

Henry Ford Dies

Henry Ford dies at his home in Dearborn, Michigan, aged 83. A power cut meant he died as he had been born, by candlelight.

1947
1950's

The 75,000th Vehicle

The Ford company's longest-serving employee drives the 75,000th vehicle built at Cork since 1932 off the assembly line.

1950
1960's
1967

Investment in Cork Plant Announced

A £2million investment programme is announced to re-build and re-equip the assembly plant and update facilities, on its 50th anniversary.

1967
1969

Escort launched in Ireland

A replacement for the Anglia, two million Escorts were sold in Europe in the first six years after launch.

1968

Capri Launched in Ireland

Intended as the continent's version of the US Mustang, nearly two million Capris were sold in its 17-year life span

1969
1970's

The Popemobile

Ford builds a Popemobile for John Paul II's visit to Ireland. The converted D-series truck had a platform towards the front where the pontiff could stand and greet his followers.

1979

Rationalisation plan in Cork

A rationalisation plan sees Cork become a two-car plant, producing the two best-selling cars in Ireland, the Escort and Cortina.

1972
1980's

Production Ceases in Cork Plant

July 13: The Cork assembly plant ceases production.

1984
1990's
1993

Ford launch Focus

Ford Focus is launched and named Irish and European Car of the Year.

1999

Ford launches the Mondeo

It is Irish Car of the Year in 1994.

1993
2000's

300 millionth vehicle

The Ford Motor Company produces its 300 millionth vehicle in its centenary year.

2003

Ford sponsors FAI cup

Ford are named as sponsors of the FAI Cup, more than 80 years after their Cork factory team won it.

2007
2010's

The Ancestral Home

William Clay Ford, Henry's great grandson, visits Ballinascarthy, Co. Cork with his wife and children

2011

50th Anniversary of Ford Transit

More than eight million have been sold, making it the third best-selling van of all time.

2015
2017

Centenary of Ford in Ireland

Among a range of other events a gala ball is planned to mark the actual date on which the Ford Ireland company was registered.

2018 and beyond

Ford plans to lead the field on producing electric and autonomous vehicles of the future


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