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Mulally: Ford leads the way on making needed changes
Amy Wilson
Automotive News
February 27, 2009 - 2:54 pm ET

DETROIT -- Alan Mulally says Ford Motor Co. is carving out a place of its own as the industry struggles to get through the deepening recession.

This week's tentative deal with the UAW on contract concessions and changes on funding retiree health care is new proof of that, the Ford CEO said in an interview with Automotive News.

It was important for Ford to be the first of the Detroit 3 to settle with the UAW "because we're creating our future," Mulally said.

Besides the UAW deal, Mulally said Ford has led the way on other restructuring needed to survive the sharp decline in vehicle sales.

"Who's been on the front edge of making these changes when they needed to?" Mulally said. "I'd say you've got to give Ford a lot of credit. I do."

He reiterated that Ford intends to avoid emergency loans from the U.S. government, in contrast to crosstown rivals General Motors and Chrysler LLC. Some industry analysts are skeptical that Ford can survive without loans.

Mulally noted several actions taken by the company that he contends give it leadership credentials:
  • Ford decided more than two years ago to bet its future on the Ford brand and divested most noncore assets, such as Hertz, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover.

  • Ford secured private financing -- a $23.4 billion loan package -- in late 2006 so it would have the cash to ride out the company's restructuring and any industry slowdown.

  • Ford committed to a product pipeline of small, medium and large vehicles of all types and is trying to bring out each new vehicle with segment-leading fuel economy.

  • Ford cut production levels earlier and deeper than some competitors and has done a better job of keeping dealership inventories in line. Said Mulally: "Our dealers are happy they're not getting vehicles jammed down their throat."
Despite the strides, Ford has more work to do. Auto sales are getting worse, Mulally acknowledged. Ford yesterday lowered its 2009 U.S. sales forecast by 1 million units and now expects 2009 light-vehicle sales to be as low as 10.2 million.

"It's an unprecedented time," Mulally said. "But I know what we can control is looking at the world through clear glasses, defining reality the way it is and responding aggressively to it the way we've been doing it. And that's the best thing we can do."
 

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Mulally Ford leads the way on making needed changes AutomotiveNews

Although this isnt this or that, would you consider the Monster Mansion song more or less annoying than Its a Small World?
 
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