After the name of Henry Ford became a household word, men in the Ford
Motor Company who might temporarily get more publicity than he did
aroused his jealousy, and one by one they were purged.
In the fall of 1918, as Henry Ford was involved in lawsuits, war production, and a Senate race, he managed to upstage all these ongoing news events with the surprising announcement that he was resigning the presidency of the Ford Motor Company, effective December 30, 1918, in order to pursue other ventures. He explained he wished “to devote my time to building up other organizations with which I am connected.” On January 1, 1919, Edsel, who had just turned twenty-five, officially succeeded his father as president.
What other ventures did the Flivver King have in mind? Tractor manufacturing was sure to be one. A hometown newspaper he had recently purchased, the Dearborn Independent, was another. Then, in early March 1919, just weeks after he lost his appeal in the Dodge suit, he told the press while vacationing in California that he planned to build a new car that would be superior to the Model T and would cost half as much, to boot. “We shall have a plant on this coast and all over the country,” Henry said. “In fact, we propose to dot the whole world with our factories.”
“But what about the Ford Motor Company?” Henry was asked.
“Why,” he said innocently, “I don't know exactly what will become of that.”