Ford was in a pretty bad place during the Y2K market crash in the United States . This venerated car maker, in business since 1903, found itself on the precipice of bankruptcy as the markets were experiencing a major reversal. This confluence of events would put most out of business. The first nail in the coffin was the tech bubble bursting in beginning in March 2010. Almost exactly 18 months later, the September 11 attacks caused widespread global panic in the markets. Whether a stock traded on the NYSE, or the OTC market, it did not matter; all boats sank during both of these very deleterious events. In the year 2000, Ford Motor Company also owned Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Mercury and Mazda. They also owned Lincoln at that time, and they still retain ownership of it today. Add to this there were rollover problems with their very popular Ford Explorer, which would later be ruled faulty tires, but that did not make it any easier at the time. Late in 1999, however, one car may have provided a nice boost for Ford sales, and just might have helped the company to weather these awful market downturns, and to survive.
The Ford Focus began selling in the United States in 1999, which were the 2000 models at that time.
Ford also started selling taxicabs in the late 90s, which likely helped also.
In 1997 Ford also started selling the first natural gas powered taxicabs in New York City. With the Focus on the market, and the taxicab business in New York, those were 2 places of strength for Ford during this time, in the first half of 2001, when Bridgestone/Firestone tires were failing and their popular Ford Explorer model was rolling over, forcing a massive recall. Ultimately Federal Investigators, after Bridgestone/Firestone fired Ford as a customer, ruled that the tire failure was the reason the Explorer was rolling over, and had nothing to do with the workmanship of the Ford Explorer. In 2005, Bridgestone/Firestone agreed to pay Ford $240 million, which was only a fraction of the cost of what the recall ultimately cost Ford, which was over $2 billion.
The Ford Mustang redesign in 2005 was another feather in the cap of Ford halfway through a decade marked by stock market tumult, and the slowest car sales the markets had seen since 1992, which happened in 2008. In 2005, when the Mustang redesign hit the market, the sales numbers for Ford were still over 3.1 million, and they were just slightly under 3 million, for the first time in over 6 years, in 2006. Just 2 short years later, however, their annuals sales dipped below 2 million. The two years from 2008 through 2009 were pretty bad for automakers across the board. In 2009, Ford had their worst year ever, with sales of only 1.6 million. From 2004 to 2009, Ford sales were cut in half, but this was not just a Ford issue, but rather a U.S., and to a lesser extent global, economy issue. Ford rallied back and their 2014 sales were nearly 2.5 million.
The reason the Focus launch was so pivotal, because unlike most other cars on the market that responded accordingly to the car sales downturn of 2008 to 2009, the Focus sales were fairly consistent. From 2000, or its launch, to 2014, the model sold an average of 226,000 units per year. In 2008, the Focus sold 195,000 units. Since inception, this car has also outsold almost every other Ford model on the market, so even with all the tire problems with Bridgestone/Firestone, rollovers with the Explorer, and awful market downturns, the Focus remained a productive mainstay for Ford, with perfectly anemic responses to the gyrations in both the Ford economy as well as the economic status of the entire country.
Today Ford has not returned to the kind of numbers it saw in sales during the late 90s, and up to 2005, but no automaker has really. Ford is definitely in a solid position, and has been steadily reclaiming market share since the 2008-2009 auto sales downturn. In fact, sales in 2007 were 2.5 million, and sales in 2014 were nearly 2.5 million. For a company that turned 100 years old in 2003, all indications are that they will see their 200th birthday and beyond. Ford is here to stay.