January 9, 1924 – Ford’s worth tops $1 billion

On January 9, 1924, the market capitalization of Ford Motor Company would exceed $1 billion for the first time. For non-investors, the market cap equates to the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock. The investment community uses this figure, which is calculated by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by the current market value of a single share, to calculate the size of a business to help determine investment risk. Though Ford was not publicly traded at the time, an evaluation of sales, property, material and other data completed by market experts, in possible anticipation of the company going public, determined the proposed value.

Ford Model T options at the time

In 1924 Ford’s primary product was still the Model T, which was selling at an all time low price thanks to record production numbers. You could have yourself a Runabout for just $260, equal to only $3,790 in 2020 dollars. In 1924 Ford produced a staggering 1,922,048 vehicles, compared to 498,342 five years earlier. Among the 1924 models was Ford’s 10 millionth vehicle, marking the first time any automaker accomplished such a major manufacturing feat. This of course was made possible by the Ford Motor Company’s early investment into and engineering of automotive assembly lines.

The Model T remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1908 to its demise in 1927, aside from minor upgrades to improve body structure, reliability and performance. In 1924 the vehicles received lighter pistons to slightly improve the performance of the standard 176.7 cid four cylinder. Also during this year, all-steel stampings for doors and body panels became standard on closed top cars.

Ford Model T assembly line in 1924

The Ford Model T would be discontinued in 1927, with Ford stating the last one to leave the assembly line as the 15 millionth Ford ever produced. Production numbers do not reflect accuracy in that claim, but it sounds better that way, right? Ford stock would begin trading publicly in 1956 and the current market cap of Ford Motor Company is $36.64 billion.

Cover: Henry Ford with his first car, the Quadricycle, and Ford’s 10 millionth vehicle.