Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! This week’s question: When and where did the Ford Motor Company open its first factory outside of North America? If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you are right. There has long been an argument over which mainstream brand – Ford or Chevrolet – is the more American. Chevy, part of General Motors, which is America’s largest auto making conglomerate, has certainly attempted to lay claim to the title, what with advertising that equated their products to baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. That’s pretty cocky for a brand named after a Frenchman. I would say that Ford has the greater claim to being America’s brand. After all, it’s one of the longest-running to have been founded here, having been incorporated in 1903. Ford is also so intrinsically American that it has been able to enter the automotive markets in other nations under the strength of its own brand name. Other American marque have had to buy their way into foreign markets, absorbing local brands and making them their own. Not only has Ford been one of the most successful U.S. car makers to develop foreign markets, it was also one of the first to actually manufacture cars under its brand outside of the U.S.. Today, while not the biggest, Ford is considered a global brand, spreading its ineradicable American name and persona to nations far and wide. Of course, that global expansion had to start somewhere. From Serious Wheels:
[T]he powerhouse of Ford’s early European operations turned out to be Britain, where Percival Perry had taken over the sales agency and sales were booming following the launch of the competitively-priced four-cylinder Model N in 1906. In 1909 a British branch company was set up under Perry’s management, and the strength of the market led to the opening late in October 1911 of Ford’s first factory outside North America, at Trafford Park, Manchester.
The Trafford Park plant initially assembled Fords out of parts shipped from America. That trans-Atlantic assembly line proved inefficient and the management started sourcing parts locally for the Model Ts built there. Ford would eventually buy a number of these local suppliers, solidifying the company’s presence as not just an ex-pat, but as a British manufacturer. Image: Dove Publishing