Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ford Motors is in the news too

For understandable reasons, General Motors and Chrysler dominated the news--particularly business news--on Monday.

America's number two automaker, Ford Motors, is making news as well.

Ford announced yesterday that it will be idling many of its assembly plants for the next three weeks. This morning Ford unveiled a payment protection plan for buyers of news cars who lose their jobs.

Before all of these events unfolded, the Detroit Free Press tracked down Ford's top two executives:

With each passing day, Ford Motor Co.'s determination to forgo federal loans is giving the company a sharper edge over its domestic rivals, who must now answer to the federal government.

While GM and Chrysler were scolded Monday by President Barack Obama's auto task force, Ford remains in control of its destiny and aims to keep it that way.

In an exclusive joint interview with the Free Press last week, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said they are taking decisive action to profitably grow their business the way they want to.

"Look at the speed with which we are moving," said Mulally, who has made progress with the UAW and bondholders. "We have the resources, and we are implementing our transformational plan. ... When you are owned by the U.S. government, you are in a different situation."

The temporary plant shut downs are unfortunate, but such moves are sometimes necessary for a company to survive.

As I wrote yesterday, the Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are in power partly because of union support.

In a press conference this morning, GM's new CEO, Fritz Henderson, said plant closings are coming.

Will his boss, Barack Obama, sign off on that?

Will the unions let it happen?

UPDATE 10:50AM CDT: General Motors announced a similar payment protection plan today.

Related post:

New Ford Taurus: A car Obama should be looking at

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