Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seperate the Man and the Company, Henry was no angel, that's for sure

With the recent story about Ford Motor Company caving into the AFA's boycott threats, it seems that many people are rediscovering some ugly truths about an Iconic figure, Henry Ford.
Just for the record, I feel it's important to seperate the Man from the Company. For while Ol Henry did start Ford Motor Company, and is the historic face of the company, FoMoCo is so much more than the vision of one man. Ford built his first car in his barn and then started the company that would become Cadilac. And while the Model T is heralded as the first car built on an Assembly Line, Henry didn't create the concept. The idea of interchangable parts and assembly lines originated in gun manufacturing I believe.

Henry Ford held some unpopular beliefs, well tha's putting it mildly. Ol Henry was an anti semite, who loved the Nazis and wrote books and newsletters spreading hate of Jews, Blacks and Unions. Henry traveled in an amazing circle of friends including Harvey Firestone and Thomas Edison, who also truth be known were sympathetic to Henry's beliefs. The real heros at Ford Motor Company were the men that came after Henry, his sons and grandsons, the many loyal FoMoCo Employees that really built the company beyond the Model T.
As much as I think Ford did wrong by capitulating to the AFA, we can't loose sight of the truth. Ford Motor Company is a foreward thinking company, that has been working with a modern progressive mindset where their emplyees and customers are concerned. Sure they screwed up, but think about the fact that Ford's plants in South Africa never allowed the tiered pay scale that seperated blacks and whites, and worked to create as equal an atmosphere within their plants as the apartheid system would allow by law. Ford has also quietly supported many groups over the years. Isn't that what got then into this?

I won't defend Henry Ford, and I'm not pleased by Ford Motor Company's caving in on the AFA's demands. But there's the man and then there's the company.


Dotty Gale said...

This is a discussion that the Ford Motor Company would like to never see.

Let's keep talking about this until Ford makes it irrelevant again.

Bill Ford, does the fruit fall far from the tree? Discuss!

Big Ford Fan said...

This story has taken off more than I ever thought it would. Thanks for the link to AmericaBlog, their coverage of this issue is as comprehensive as it gets.

Every major blog and news service is buzzing with this issue. If Ford knows what's good for them, they'll publicly tell the AFA to go to hell and continue business as they had been.

I don't know much about Bill Ford, but doubt that in this day and age, that he would publicly make statements like his famous Great Grandfather. The Ford Family may not be perfect, but I don't think he's that stupid.

Big Ford Fan said...

Dotty Gale, reading posts on other sites, like the one you pointed me to ( I found even more info on Great Grand Pa Henry, and his son Edsel's dealings with the Nazis.

Ford has to do something to avoid all of this bad press. Because no mattter what anyone says, seeing your name in press, isn't good if it's all bad.

With the new Way Forward Plan, and the closing of 10 plants and firing of 30,000 workers, the downgrading of Ford's credit and recalls and lawsuits being anounced on a weekly basis, Ford doesn't need any more bad news.