Ford Motor Company marked the 100-year anniversary of founder Henry Ford's invention of the moving assembly line, Monday, with the announcement that it would ramp up production by one-third to 8 million vehicles annually by 2017.
"One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather had a vision to build safe and efficient transportation for everyone," Bill Ford, the automaker's executive chairman, said in a release. "I am proud he was able to bring the freedom of mobility to millions by making cars affordable to families and that his vision of serving people still drives everything we do today."
In 1913, Ford and his team of engineers pioneered the use of moving assembly lines for large-scale manufacturing. By dividing the assembly of the company's Model T automobile into separate steps and pulling components across the factory floor — first by rope and windlass, later by conveyer belt — they were able to reduce the time it took to produce a car from 12 hours and 30 minutes to a mere 93 minutes.
The new process saved Ford Motor Company loads of time and money, allowing it to pass those savings onto the "the great multitude" Ford hoped would buy his car.
The idea worked, propelling the automaker to the forefront of automotive production in the United States. Other automakers quickly followed suit, and the new process transformed the automotive industry the world over.
Today, Ford Motor Company is recognized as the second largest automaker in the U.S. and fifth largest in the world, based on sales, and has assembly plants all over the globe — from Argentina to Vietnam.