The Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford in 1903. Ford vehicles have been nicknamed with the backronym (back acronym) “Found On Road Dead” since at least 1980.
Other Ford backronymic nicknames include “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “First On Race Day.”
Wikipedia: Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (also known as simply Ford; NYSE: F) is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. In the past it has also produced heavy trucks, tractors and automotive components. Ford owns small stakes in Mazda of Japan and Aston Martin of the United Kingdom. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family, although they have minority ownership.
... but I want to get in my two cents for Ford; they’re great, and I’m fed up with those jokes such as “Fix Or Repair Daily” and “Found On Road, Dead.”
Google News Archive
3 May 1981, Nevada (MO) Herald, “At Random: Fit it again, Tony” by Charles C. Nash, pg. 4, col. 3:
FORD is found On Road Dead.”
2 March 1983, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Tempo, Ford’s new auto, show ‘models’ are better suited to serious business” by Clarence Petersen, pg. D1:
Says Guenther: “And they come up and say, ‘FORD: Found On Road Dead’ or ‘Fix Or Repair Daily.’ I just say, ‘No, First On Race Day.’”
Webster’s Word Histories
By Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster
Thus when the Ford cars first came out, everyone knew they were named for Henry Ford, but it was still more fun to etymologize the word as being from “found on road dead” or “fix or repair daily.”
The New Ford Motor Company
By Robert L. Shook
New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press
The quality of all Ford automobiles was in question. It wasn’t long before FORD was being used for such sayings as “Found On Road Dead” and “Fix Or Repair Daily.”
The End of Detroit:
How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market
By Micheline Maynard
New York, NY: Currency/Doubleday
The old jokes about what the letters in the name Ford stand for — “Found On Road, Dead” — aren’t funny to owners of the small Ford Focus, a European-rooted car that has been recalled more than a dozen times in the past four years, or to buyers of the first Ford Escape sport utilities, which suffered five recalls in its first month on the market.
Smile When You’re Lying:
Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer
By Chuck Thompson
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
“Found On Road Dead,” Gary smirked when the Torino came into view. “That’s what Ford stands for. Also, Fix Or Repair Daily.”
Short Sci-fi Stories
By Chuck Keyes
Published by author
“My grandfather use to say Ford means, ‘Fix Or Repair Daily’.”
Jake chuckled. “Well my grandfather said Ford means, ‘Found On Road Dead’.”