Ford CEO Alan Mullaly joins The Takeaway

Friday, April 03, 2009

Transcript

Last year the CEOs of the Big Three of the American car industry went to Congress seeking financial assistance. When it became clear that Congress was only offering short-term loans with a lot of strings attached, GM and Chrysler had no choice, but to accept the deal. Ford, however, walked away without taking the loan. Since then, as GM and Chrysler struggle to survive in the economy, Ford has been going it alone. But that doesn't mean Ford is in an entirely happy place. To survive they've had to sell off brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and are talking about putting Volvo up on the auction block. We've asked our listeners to send in their questions as The Takeaway talks to Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

TRANSCRIPT:

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: Living on the edge. Edge is so ‘90s, but Ford's new product line is rolling out as the automaker is enjoying something of a dream moment. In the midst of a life or death crisis for General Motors and Chrysler and a near nationalization of those companies, Ford has been quietly going it alone. So far it has said it doesn't need Federal bailout money. But that doesn't mean Ford is absolutely in a happy place financially. Last year, Ford made its biggest ever annual loss, despite the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover. Now, it’s in talks to sell off its Swedish subsidiary, Volvo. Joining us now is Alan Mulally. He’s CEO of the Ford Motor Company. He joins me now from Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Mister Mulally, thanks so much for being with us.

ALAN MULALLY: You’re welcome. Good morning to you, John.

JOHN HOCKENBERRY: My first question to you is that a lot has been made of the fact that Ford’s dodging the bullet here is not so much a matter of management, as it is a matter of timing. In the fact that you had a reversal of fortunes about two and a half years ago and arranged a credit line that has really been beneficial right now. Is it a more a matter of timing or more a matter of management savvy that’s really gotten you to this point?

Continue reading the transcript...

Guests:

Alan Mullaly

Hosted by:

Femi Oke

Contributors:

Jen Poyant

Comments [9]

sloane

The New Yorker recently published <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/jamessurowiecki/2009/07/alan-mulally-ford-video.html">a video interview with Mulally by James Surowiecki</a>. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/jamessurowiecki/2009/07/alan-mulally-ford-video.html

In serious business analyses, I rarely hear much attention paid to branding. It´s interesting to hear how Mulally talks about how he brought the focus to the Ford brand.

John Tantillo has a marketing blog on which he´s written several posts on the auto industry, analyzing the problems from a marketing and branding perspective. He criticizes what he calls the build-it-and-they-will-come model and,
<a href="http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2009/06/08/john-tantillos-brand-winner-and-loser-gm-and-levis.aspx">in a more recent post, posits that GM will actually succeed in the long-run..again, thanks to their brands.
"People don’t buy a company; they buy a car."</a>

Jul. 30 2009 02:36 PM
sloane

The New Yorker recently published a video interview with Mulally by James Surowiecki, who writes the New Yorker´s Financial Page. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/jamessurowiecki/2009/07/alan-mulally-ford-video.html

In serious business analyses, I rarely hear much attention paid to branding. It´s interesting to hear how Mulally talks at the beginning of the interview of how he brought the focus to the Ford brand--in contrast to GM´s 13(?) brands.

John Tantillo has a marketing blog, on which he´s written several posts on the auto industry, analyzing the problems from a marketing and branding perspective. He criticizes what he calls the build-it-and-they-will-come model and, in a more recent post, posits that GM will actually succeed in the long-run..again, thanks to their brands.
"People don’t buy a company; they buy a car." http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2009/06/08/john-tantillos-brand-winner-and-loser-gm-and-levis.aspx

Jul. 30 2009 02:30 PM
Bill Small

In 2007 I bought a ford Expedation Limited El with 18" wheels and tires.
30000 miles late on 4-18-09 I have a flat. guess what the spire tire is a 17" tire and wheel. they did not tell me the spare did not match the 4 other tires and wheels. I go to the dealer Tindol Ford in Gastonia NC. to get this Mistake taken care of. it takes me four days get a answer they contacted Ford Mtr Co. their answer was we sold the vehicle with 4 18" tires and wheels and 1 17" tire and wheel why would I have any use for a 17" tire and wheel Tindol Ford did not offer to correct the problem. my first car was a Modle A Roadster My Last Ford Is the one I have Now I have spent over $300.000.00 with Tindol Ford today I found sone one else to service my vehicles.

Bill Small

Apr. 21 2009 09:38 PM
delicia Dawn Lewis

In 2006 when your hero was brought into Ford Motor Company, he was advised on the issues Ford, Lincoln and Mercury's were having with Fire! Alan R. Mulally turned his back on the defective cruise control issue, choosing not to recall all of them at once, as to not scare off the consumer ( great business move). Unforgivably a death sentence for those loyal consumers that bought and drove Ford Motor company brand cars/trucks/vans /RV's. Burning them alive. Payton could have just jumped out of the car, but he would'nt leave Samantha stuck in the car. That's a real Hero.
Alan R. Mulally might be a great guy, but that $20.00 part he saved X millions of cars. killed my son/sam. And Alan R. Mulally, has never contacted me, or my family. Nor has Ford Motor Company ever expressed any compassion or responsibility to us.

Apr. 09 2009 05:31 PM
Leslie

Mr. Mulally, I would never buy another Ford car, ever again. I have a 2003 Lincoln Aviator with 93,000 miles, and I've had to replace the engine, transmission, air conditioning unit, and even the radio. I've owned Toyota, Nissan, and Volvo in the past but this is my first Ford car and definitely my last. It is so poorly manufactured I think your engineers do not know how to build a reliable car. No wonder people buy the imports. I will from now on.

Apr. 09 2009 04:34 AM
George V

Mr.Mulally, I like topics on electric vehichles. I think automakers need to adress work vehicles, which don`t have to be fancy but practical. put solar panels to charge while working or wifes shopping.
This is a wide open market needs adressing. it can plug in also but practable remember the model T & what it was built on, the american public in mind & practable. thank you green man.

Apr. 07 2009 12:13 PM
delicia Dawn Lewis

Posted by Delicia | 04/03/09 03:10 PM EDT
Mullaly, in an impressive flash of foresight? Or just sweeping the dirt under the rug? Corporate Greed! In 2006 when Alan took his position as CEO, I am sure he was advised on the decades of Ford Fires that had been going on. That's when I get to this statement -before the credit meltdown to build $25 billion in reserves, hence avoiding the need to rattle his tin cup before Uncle Sam. Decades of cars that needed to be fixed so people would not die,loose their homes, or vehicles NOT REPAIRED, NOT COMPENSATED = 28 bil if you consider all the sales that were saved because recalls were stopped, and done in stages as to not scare off the consumers. As, far as rattling the tin cup. Ford has so many skeletons in it's company closets the last thing they want is the government to go snooping around.Oh, by the way, if you work for Ford, this comment is not to you. Received an over night express letter advising me not to speak to Ford employees.

Apr. 03 2009 03:19 PM
Chuck

I believe our biggest hurdle for energy prices will be to stop moving giant sums of money from the US Treasury into oil company coffers. Talk about government subsidies and corporate welfare for the rich! This one is at the top of the list, and is long overdue for a complete overhaul.

Apr. 03 2009 10:43 AM
Teo

What is Mr. Mulally's opinion about the effect of fluctuations of fuel prices on the product development of his company. Oil of prices famously follow a boom bust cycle, would a gas tax smooth out this trend and allow ford to build more fuel efficient cars because of a artificially created certainty of higher gas prices?

Apr. 03 2009 09:44 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.