DEARBORN, Mich., May 22, 2003 – While Ford Motor Company is planning its big Centennial celebration in Dearborn, Mich. on June 12-16, Ford dealers nationwide are making their own plans to commemorate the event. Dealer centennial-themed activities include everything from carnivals and cake to vintage car shows and charity fundraisers.
"Our 100th anniversary is an opportunity to move forward while rekindling the pride and enthusiasm for America’s number one automotive brand," said Steve Lyons, Ford Division president. "Our dealers have been key to our success and it’s only fitting that they celebrate with us."
Michael and Deborah Tenvoorde, the fourth generation to work at the world’s oldest family-owned Ford dealership Tenvoorde Ford in St, Cloud Minn., have spent nearly a year planning for their centennial celebration the week of June 6 though 12.
"This year is especially meaningful for our family, because it marks our own 100-year anniversary as a Ford dealership," said Deborah Tenvoorde. "Our celebration will include a host of activities including the Big Foot monster truck crushing cars, the #88 UPS NASCAR and simulator, Pantowners vintage cars, miniature Indy cars for the kids, food and carnival rides."
Bob Diehl, general manager of the third oldest Ford dealership, Diehl Ford, in Bellingham, Wash., said community picnics and entertainment always has been an important part of the business. Diehl Ford is planning a special Centennial picnic on June 6 and 7 as part of their celebration.
"We’re celebrating Ford’s centennial and our 95-year anniversary with an old-fashion Ford picnic," said Diehl. In Ford’s early years, these community events were an important way for dealers to show off new vehicles and still are a great community event."
To generate awareness and excitement in dealer showrooms, Ford has created Centennial advertisements and lease promotions and a variety of point-of-sale materials. Items include Centennial displays, merchandise, direct mail, a Centennial Timeline featuring the heart-and-soul vehicles of Ford’s first 100-years and a poster commemorating Ford’s Centennial vehicles.
Ford also is offering a special Centennial-edition package on the 2003 F-Series SuperDuty, Explorer, Taurus, Focus and Mustang. Available in "any color you want as long as it’s black," vehicle production will be limited to 3,000 or less of each model. The package includes unique centennial badging and premium two-tone parchment leather seats with debossed centennial logos. Centennial-edition vehicle customers also will receive commemorative gifts including a Ford Centennial watch, badge key chain and "The Ford Century" coffee table book.
Although Tenvoorde Ford is the oldest Ford dealership, it wasn’t the first Ford dealership. That honor belongs to William Hughson, who became Ford’s first agent in 1903. At a bicycle show in Chicago, Hughson met Henry Ford and agreed to purchase $5,000 worth of automobiles and create Ford’s first dealership. Six months later, Hughson returned to Detroit and purchased 12 more vehicles, most of which sat for three years in a warehouse in San Francisco.
It was after the tragic San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when Hughson proved the versatility and usefulness of his Fords. Hughson assigned his cars to the Red Cross for ambulance work to go where horses balked or slipped. The heroic work performed by Hughson’s Fords made people realize their true worth. Automobiles became the workhorses in rebuilding San Francisco and Hughson enjoyed another 60 years of success.
"In the local community, our dealers are the face of Ford. Their centennial celebrations are a way for our dealers to celebrate their own success as much as ours," said Lyons.