CBS Channel 11: Ford CEO Discusses Company’s Future

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May 15, 2009 10:00 pm US/Central
Jack Fink

GARLAND (CBS 11 News) ―

Unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said his company isn’t shutting down a massive number of dealerships.

But Mulally said in some large metropolitan areas, they have a few too many dealers.

“We’re continuing to consolidate, which is good for dealers and good for Ford,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape here in North Texas. We have a great distribution network.”

Mulally came to Randall Reed’s Prestige Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in Garland Friday to help celebrate their grand re-opening.

Despite the rough economy, owner Randall Reed spent $6 million renovating his Ford dealership and building a Lincoln-Mercury showroom.

Reed said, “I saw the product. I saw the future with Ford. I thought it was a safe investment.”

Ford has steered clear from GM and Chrysler’s fate. This week, Ford raised $1.7 billion in cash and in 2006, Mulally secured an $18-billion line of credit.

“I knew the U. S. economy slowing down would affect the worldwide economy. So as we went to the banks. We could at the time because our credit was good, and we had a good business plan,” said Mulally. “I decided we needed to make sure we had enough money to fund this transformation of Ford.”

But Mulally said he’s most concerned about parts suppliers. GM and Chrysler’s troubles could hurt them and in turn hit Ford. “Nearly 70 percent of our auto suppliers supply the U. S. system,” he said.

Mulally said Ford is accelerating development of new, fuel efficient vehicles. They include a sub-compact called the Fiesta and a new version of its Focus.

He said as the government develops a new energy policy, it’s important for policy makers to provide customers with more incentives to buy those vehicles.

“That’s what they’re talking about and there are many ways to do that. But the most important thing is like anything you’re going to make a big improvement on is to involve the consumers,” he said.

Now that Ford has enough cash, Mulally said Ford must stay focused on what their customers want so the company can stay on the road to profitability.
(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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