Back in 2006 – before America’s economy took a nosedive and automakers begged at the government’s door – Ford considered its status among American automakers. The company pondered long and hard about how it got where it was and decided that going its own way was vital to its success when its brand needed help. According to the New York Times, this is why Ford CEO Alan Mulally decided to mortgage his company’s assets for a $23.6 billion private loan rather than beg for an auto bailout on the public dime. That move, perhaps more than anything, has cemented Ford’s status as a brand American car buyers respect.
Ford’s brand status is high, says the Detroit Free Press
On the strength of fantastic first quarter Ford profits, Ford status is strong in the American consciousness. “Ford did not fail,” Mulally reminds. Ford North America deliveries were up a whopping 56 percent in Q1 2010, reports the Detroit Free Press, a sign that Ford’s $2 billion-plus pretax profit signals America saying “yes” to the automaker. American consumers trust Ford more than other American automakers, and a large part of it is that Ford did not fail; it did not take auto bailout money. Ford did not take money from American taxpayers who were already suffering from the recession. It doesn’t need to advertise that it’s repaying any government loans; the company was strong enough and independent enough not to take them in the first place, even though the Obama administration waved the money under Ford’s nose as it did with every other American automaker.
Ford showed everyone respect
According to the Free Press, Mulally reminded the media in a recent press conference that Ford “respected the shareholders… the bondholders… and everybody that had invested in Ford.” That includes auto-buying consumers, who voted with their wallets in Q1 2010. While he didn’t mention GM or Chrysler by name, Mulally’s meaning was clear: Ford is the stronger company, and it is going to drive home the message by “playing hardball.” The automaker will continue to innovate and perform. Ford’s strongest market gain since 1977 indicates that the wind is currently at its backs. Ford and its status are currently safe, secure and anything but complacent.
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