By on August 16, 2009

I’ve been harping on about the media’s “Ford didn’t take bailout bucks” meme for some time. Commentators have slated me for slating the Blue Oval Boyz for claiming they avoided the taxpayer trough. In fact, Ford raided the public purse to the tune of $5.9 billion dollars. Yes, it’s a no-to-low-interest Department of Energy “retooling loan.” I repeat: the $5.9 billion loan from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program allows Mulally’s minions to spend $5.9 billion dollars on something else. It’s a bailout. Question: if you’re an industry writer, how do you push Ford’s mega-suckle to one side to keep the “pure as driven snow” show alive? You draw a distinction between “emergency tax dollars” and ATVM loans, while, at the same time, not mentioning the loans. Sarah Webster’s “Ford, Toyota in a close race to No. 1” does that and more, taking Motown’s hometown cheerleading to the next level.

As Webster embarks on a frenetic Ford canonization campaign, she takes the time to dance on Toyota’s grave. Although, you know, they’re not “dead” in the GM or Chrysler sense of the word. Or, in fact, any other sense.

For years, we’ve all watched and wondered when Toyota would surpass GM as the world’s largest automaker. That moment came and went earlier this year.

In the meantime, the world got stuck in economic quicksand, forcing GM, Chrysler and dozens of suppliers into bankruptcy.

The auto industry now emerging from that mess is, in many ways, an unfamiliar one — especially considering how Ford’s star is rising while Toyota’s is falling.

Ah yes, GM and Chrysler didn’t go bankrupt by their own hand. They were unwitting victims (and how) of the global economic meltdown. How long has it been since we’ve heard that bogus excuse for the domestic automakers’ epic failure? Not long enough.

The “Toyota’s on the rocks” story never really caught fire in the mainstream media. Especially as Toyota’s made some bold moves and very public mea culpas to sort its shit out. Still, the “See? See? They’re in trouble too!” story line helps keep Detroit’s chin up. So the kid stays in the picture.

Make no mistake, there’s trouble in Toyota City. The Japanese automaker has lost more than $4.8 billion over the past year. Toyota’s critical U.S. sales are down 34% — worse than the industry’s 32% decline. As such, Toyota has lost a half point of market share this year, selling 16.3% of the new cars and trucks in America.

Whoa! Half a point! Anyone want to tell Ms. Webster how much market share Chrysler, Ford and GM have shed in the last ten years? Don’t bother. She knows the stat and chooses to ignore it. As well as Toyota’s recent ascension to the top of the Cash for Clunkers new car league table.

By contrast, Ford already has endured years of cost-cutting and soul-searching, and it’s starting to stand tall again. All without emergency tax dollars.

Ford’s U.S. sales are down by 28.5% this year, but that better-than-industry performance helped it pick up nearly a point of U.S. market share this year, for 15.5% of all sales. The truck leader is turning out passenger cars that are tops not just in quality but in styling and innovation, too.

Whenever a Motown cheerleader runs out of chants, chances are they’ll start yelling about how great Detroit’s cars are, or will be, despite sales figures. Automotive News sales stats, Consumer Reports black dots, J.D. Power and TrueDelta rankings be damned. It gets woolier.

Ford’s performance led it to post a profit of $2.3 billion in the second quarter, albeit mostly because of onetime accounting gains. But Ford is now in the black, earning $834 million through the first half.

And unlike Toyota, which has lost top executives in recent years, the psychic momentum at Ford seems to be on the rise. While Ford isn’t ready to celebrate, there’s optimism in Dearborn, and more importantly, traffic in Ford’s showrooms.

Stripped of obfuscation, that’s a $424 million Q2 loss. And what the hell’s “psychic momentum”—if not another attempt to shore up a thesis without a strong foundation? Once upon a time, Detroit’s media accomplished this task by comparing the domestics to each other, rather than the barbarians at the gate [note to Webster: they're heeeeeere.] Clearly, Webster’s Old School.

Globally, Ford (5.5 million) has a longer way to go to catch up with Toyota (8.97 million), where Volkswagen (6.2 million) is also a major player.

But more than any other American brand, Ford has the promise to be a world leader. No single GM or Chrysler brand has the global cachet that Ford brings to the showroom.

Yeah, I’ll have that Taurus ’cause Ford rocks in China! Anyway, heading for the conclusion, Webster still has to deal with the 800-pound Toyota in the room. Just ’cause.

The Toyota brand has long promised quality, but that promise means less when the number of problems per vehicle has leveled out among rivals.

Does Webster mean initial quality? Or long term reliability? Either way, Toyota’s rep for quality may mean less, but it doesn’t mean nothing. In fact, it means a great deal. Still.

Since the industry meltdown took its toll, and before, Toyota’s made it clear they’re not about to surrender/ignore/neglect their dedication to producing quality products. Besides, how can Webster single-out Ford’s global prospects relative to its cross-town rivals yet happily dismisses the importance of relative vehicle quality across the entire automotive spectrum? Practice.

God help Ford if they’re as flippant as Webster about absolute and relative vehicle quality. Meanwhile, the coupe de grace. Ish.

Ford today seems to stand for what Toyota and other automakers are hoping for: A comeback.

Seems? That’s like dropping a pom-pom. Only worse. Anyway, if Ford is the poster boy for the auto industry’s eventual rebound, what does that make Lincoln? Just askin’.

[Thanks to Cammy Corrigan for the link.]

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33 Comments on “Editorial: Between the Lines: Detroit News: Ford Gets Its Sexy Back...”


  • avatar
    jamie1

    Outrageous. A Detroit-based newspaper singing the praises of a company that is fundamental to the city, its millions of dependents and supporters.

    We need to get a sense of perspective here. Ford’s performance thus far is stellar. They have not by any stretch completed the job and they know it, but we should all (including the Det. News) take time to acknowledge where they have taken bold decisions to get their business back on track and the successes they have had so far.

    We have been so quick to shoot Ford when they got things wrong. Now that they are getting things right (and it doesn’t matter what metrics you look at for quality, safety, fuel efficiency, financial performance, cash burn etc.) the fact of the matter is that against all of these things, Ford is improving, in most cases at a pace that is beyond most other manufacturers.

    Well done to Ford thus far. They will not read an article by Sarah Webster and consider all their hard work done. But they will know that this shows that they are heading in the right direction and for that, we should offer up our praise not condemnation.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    I can’t deny that Ford are making a decent go of trying to bring themselves back from the brink, but all this hype around Ford might be indicative of another problem.

    Because GM and Chrysler are in the gutter, the press need another American company to champion and Ford is their last hope (Shades of “Star Wars”? You be the judge…). So any (and I mean “any”) good news will be taken and grown to ten times its initial size. Likewise, to any pantomime (or Mel Gibson film) you also need a villan; that’s where Toyota come into play.

    Whatever bad news comes Toyota’s way, will be taken and grown to ten times its initial size. And any good news will be treated to some journalistic liposuction. Case in point, Toyota’s management overhaul. Ms Webster treated it like it was indicative of a company on its last legs, NOT the move of a company to combat a toxic complacency setting into itself.

    Ford are still at 50-50 in chances for survival, but the way Ms Webster is talking, you’d think they’re ready to go toe-to-toe with Toyota Volkswagen and Hyundai….

  • avatar
    akear

    Now all they need to do is produce products as good as the CTS, Corvette, and Malibu. What is up with the nose on the Fusion.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I will say one thing. Ford’s restructuring has been far more vast than Toyota’s.

    Land Rover sold
    Jaguar sold
    Aston Martin sold
    Volvo sold by year end
    Mazda.. reduced stake.. likely to be sold altogether.
    Mercury.. unofficially shut down within three years.

    What has taken their place? Better Ford products. The quality of their offerings is among the best in the industry right now. Three years ago I wouldn’t be able to recommend a Focus, Fusion, or Five Hundred/Taurus with a straight face. Now I definitely can. The F150, Mustang, Flex, Escape, and Explorer are also among the best in their class. That’s quite an improvement from 2006.

    Ms. Webster may be a cheerleader in search of salient points. But Toyota has not restructured to nearly the same degree as Ford. Not even close. Their products are becoming ugly, bland and overweight at a time when their contemporaries are offering more exciting and more enjoyable products. Scion is a failure at the moment, and Toyota can’t seem to decontent their way into the level of successes they enjoyed up to 2007. They GM-inized themselves into making too many models for the same type of customer.

    Ford is doing a good job these days. But I would argue that the Hyundai/Kia conglomerate is the biggest threat to Toyota and Ford in the next few years. Toyota will need to do far more than ‘decontent’ their way into success, and Ford will need to change their reputation as a ‘Detroit’ manufacturer to an international one.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Outrageous. A Detroit-based newspaper singing the praises of a company that is fundamental to the city, its millions of dependents and supporters.

    We need to get a sense of perspective here.

    My sense of perspective tells me that a newspaper that feeds its audience views based upon what the readers want to hear isn’t much of a newspaper. News serves a higher function of educating, even if everyone isn’t eager about becoming educated. News by its nature can be unpleasant, but the audience may need to hear it, anyway.

    But Toyota has not restructured to nearly the same degree as Ford. Not even close.

    There hasn’t been the need. There are no divisions for Toyota to sell. Toyota didn’t acquire several luxury automakers to sell, so they won’t be following in kind. Toyota already had a smaller lineup than GM, so there won’t be as much to cut. They’ve already led the reliability surveys; the main threat is that others get better, not that they get worse.

    Ford is improving its game, but it’s still weaker than much of its competition. The true test over time will be whether Ford is able to achieve conquest sales in the US market from Asian brands. Its recent gains have most likely come largely from GM and Chrysler defectors fearful of or angry about the bankruptcies/bailouts, so the benefits from that segment will be limited.

    In other words, Ford is going to need to conquer Toyota, Honda, and Nissan car buyers. If they can, they’ll have a bright future; if they can’t, they’re doomed to remain a second-tier player in the car market that will be heavily dependent upon the F-150 and the Mustang to carry them along. That’s a coin toss, and over the long run, I’m leaning toward the latter.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    The girl is hot, the car is not.

    Ford product is not as good as GM’s.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    What Ford needs is time. The cheerleading is nice but if you think that the hyperbole is high now, just wait. If Ford actually does pass on through, the proxisms of exstacy coming out of Detroit will know no bounds.

    What Toyota needs is time. Why, what a coincidence! Their major moves in the executive suite haven’t shown up on the dealer floors yet. It will. This sucker is a sleeping giant and isn’t about to fade anytime soon. This recession/depression is probably the best wake up call Toyota has ever had, similar to what Hyundai got 10 years ago. Look out.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    As Steven said, Ford is competitive in all product categories now, and two of the biggest product launches are yet to come – the next generation euro derived Focus and the Fiesta. The Fusion is already selling better than the Malibu, and is rating up with the Accord and Camry in the MSM. When the Mondeo derived next gen Fusion arrives, it will leapfrog everything else.

    Personally, I’m not that worried about Hyundai/Kia. Yes, there sales have been good recently, but that is mainly because their products are cheap and the economy is struggling. During a recession there is less stigma associated with moving to an off-brand. Yes, the quality of Hyundai cars is improving, but at the same time, they are also getting more expensive.

    The Genesis isn’t just expensive for a Hyundai, it’s an expensive car period. The Veracruz can’t be had for chump change, and the Genesis Coupe sells for quite a bit more in real dollars than the Tiburon ever did. Hyundai is offering aggressive rebates and subsidized leases, but as the D3 learned, these tactics will come back to bite you in the ass in the long run. While Hyundai once had the benefit of cheap Korean labor, as more and more of their cars are built in the US, they are losing that edge. When they have to pay the same prices for labor and materials as everyone else, they won’t be able to make profits selling at thousands below everyone else’s.

    While some would say that Hyundai is building a customer base that will be OK spending mainstream brand prices for their cars, I think that when the inevitable flood of cheaper Chinese cars start to filter in, those people will jump ship. Time will tell Hyundai buyers are loyal to the brand or loyal to the price, but I’d place my bet on the latter.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Ford is in on an upswing while Toyota is still trying to find its feet. Ford’s US lineup has been improving every years for the past several years. Toyota’s lineup is flat to down.

    Yes, not all of Ford’s news has been good news.

    Yes, not all of Toyota’s news has been bad news.

    But, Ford has a pretty decent product lineup right now and a number of promising new models hitting over the next 24 months. What has Toyota got?

    If it is all about the product, then Toyota is in trouble and Ford is looking better by the day. Many recent Toyota redesigns have ended up being less desirable than their immediate predecessors. That is not good.

    BTW, Toyota has in fact been on a bit of a buying binge. Stakes in Subaru, Isuzu and Daihatsu along with ownership of Hino. Daihatsu was a failure in multiple markets and Hino has spent a bunch of money not gaining traction in the US. Toyota also own a major manufactured housing operation in the moribund Japanese market. Toyota has plenty of things they should consider divesting.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I guess it’s an age thing. The young girl is some pretty.

    White walls on a white Lincoln drop top. Now thats hot.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    another old faht chiming in. Last of the big Continentals and a purty lady, what is not to like?

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Hey I’m only 32, but I’d take the car and the girl. There’s actually enough room in that back seat for extracurricular activity. :P

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I wonder who built the car, in that Lincoln didn’t offer that particular model in anything but a hardtop.

  • avatar
    kowsnofskia

    But Toyota has not restructured to nearly the same degree as Ford. Not even close. Their products are becoming ugly, bland and overweight at a time when their contemporaries are offering more exciting and more enjoyable products. Scion is a failure at the moment, and Toyota can’t seem to decontent their way into the level of successes they enjoyed up to 2007. They GM-inized themselves into making too many models for the same type of customer.

    I’m sorry, but even with Toyota’s recent “shortcomings” its vehicles are still better than just about everyone else’s in the mainstream, inexpensive automobile markets (excepting Honda, perhaps). Most of what you’re saying about Toyota’s vehicles – i.e., they’re too bland, boring, heavy, aren’t sporty, etc. – are the same charges car enthusiasts have leveled against Toyotas for decades, and the general public doesn’t give a damn. Like it or not, Toyota quality is still several orders of magnitude better than Ford’s.

    Plus, do you seriously think that Toyota’s products are any more “bland and boring” than Ford’s?

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    Pch 101 wrote:

    … a newspaper that feeds its audience views based upon what the readers want to hear isn’t much of a newspaper.

    Perhaps, but a newspaper that ignores what side its readers’ bread is buttered on won’t be around long enough to educate them either.

    That said, I agree with your assertion that the real measure of Ford’s success will be whether they can make conquest sales at Japan Inc’s expense, not just their crosstown, down-and-out, domestic rivals.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    The truck leader is turning out passenger cars that are tops not just in quality but in styling and innovation, too.

    Wow…is Ms. Webster is a comedy writer too?

    As for the quality thing…well…it shouldn’t be hard to be the leader when you pay for the study.

    ——

    Ford is nowhere near the healthy company that these cheerleaders wants everyone to believe. They have spent TONS of money on reskinning products that still don’t sell worth a damn. They still are bleeding money, and they have a HUGE debt load.

    Comparing GM, Chrysler and Ford is comparing three different types of dog shit and trying to figure out which one smells the best.

    And with Ford’s new trend of pricing vehicles WAY out of their class…sales will not pick up. People are not going to pay Honda and Toyota money for a Ford…no matter how many gimmicks it has. Same for Lincoln. They just are not worth it.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Plus, do you seriously think that Toyota’s products are any more “bland and boring” than Ford’s?

    No…Ford has gone the bland/boring (and ugly) route with all of their recent re-skins. There is no excitement…just appliances that have been attacked by bean counters.

  • avatar
    Durwood

    Toyota is still getting by off it’s past accomplishments, but every day it’s presents accomplishments are catching up with it. Even Honda is slipping as they and Toyota both seem to have settled into a comfort zone on design. While Ford and hyundai are closing the gap fast. And for the gm fanboys to say ford products aren’t as good as Chevy is plain BS. I have bought 8 new cars over the years with 6 being chevys and no Fords, I can tell you that GM has nothing that interests me at all including the new Camaros. I owned 2 new camaros too with one being a Z28. I would much rather have a new Mustang now, and compared to the chevy competition……F 150 is better,(yes, i have owned two new chevy full size trucks) ranger is better, Mustang is better, Fusion is better, Taurus is better, Even Focus is better, and the new Fiesta vs the aveo? hahahaha what a joke. And Flex and Edge have no competition. Ford is on a roll right now and it only gets better the next few years.

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    @kowsnofskia
    Like it or not, Toyota quality is still several orders of magnitude better than Ford’s.

    It’s always good to know the meaning of words or phrases before you use them. I think you are confusing the concept of “orders of magnitude better” with the more appropriate “statistically insignificant difference”.

    JD Power average new car quality for 2009 was about 110 problems per 100 cars. A Toyota advantage of “several orders of magnitude” implies (for instance) 10 problems per 100 for Toyota and 1000 for Ford. Actual numbers in the survey were Toyota 101 to Ford 102.

    @Pch and others

    The nature of this site draws readers with a strong opinion in the whole “domestic vs import” debate. I think that generally, most people don’t know or care much about it. Therefore, I think some folks here overestimate the difficulty Ford will have in winning over Honda and Toyota customers. As a Toyonda customer you may be difficult to win over, but overall many will lack your conviction. You have explicit reasons for your choice. Most will not . . . it will have been the ‘easy’ choice. So if Ford’s product has good quality buzz and is desirable (for whatever reason), I think many Toyonda customers will give them a try. More than you estimate.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I think some folks here overestimate the difficulty Ford will have in winning over Honda and Toyota customers.

    Then you haven’t looked at the data. There are two data series that you’ll want to look for: the loyalty and the conquest rates.

    Toyota and Honda lead the industry in loyalty and conquest rates, which is to say that they excel at retaining existing customers and are effective at taking customers from the competition. In comparison, the domestics have lower rates in both categories.

    It’s clear that over time, the transplants are better at conquest than the domestics. The general trend has been for domestic buyers to become transplant buyers, and for them to stay with the transplants once they’ve made the move. It is uncommon for transplant buyers to move to the domestic side, particularly for passenger cars.

    The US auto market is mature. Because it grows slowly (and has been actually shrinking for the last several years), no large company can prosper here without taking customers from the competition.

    Over the long haul, Ford cannot dominate if it doesn’t move Toyota and Honda buyers into Fords. If Ford can’t do that, then it will have to pull back to shrink its cost base, and try to carve it out its own turf, such as dominating the truck market or else by inventing some sort of niche that doesn’t currently exist. Not an easy task, no matter how you slice it.

  • avatar
    compy386

    TTAC needs more consistent reporting. When Ford’s net income is better than operating income, TTAC reports operating. When Ford’s operating income is higher than net income. Case in point for Q2 last year:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/ford-loses-87b-in-q2/

    When Ford had some 700 million in operating losses the headline from TTAC was Ford loses 8.7 billion in Q2 with no mention of operating. Now Ford makes 2 billion in Q2 that’s an obscure number operating losses were 400 million.

    Also the 5.9 billion is not a bailout. The government lent me $7,500 to buy a home and it lends people money to go to college. Without these loans I would not have gone bankrupt and the students would have just missed out on college and not gone broke. A loan to guide behavior is different from a loan to save a company. The 5.9 billion is to get Ford to build more fuel efficient cars, a public goal.

  • avatar
    geeber

    The original Detroit News article highlights a problem with the domestic auto industry in general – a problem that is reflected increasingly in government and other businesses.

    Namely, the tendency to proclaim victory when the ball is at the 10-yard line, instead of when the touchdown is made and the game is actually won.

    Yes, Ford is making big strides, and it looks great compared to GM and Chrysler (although that’s a bit like saying that an actress is hotter than Rosie O’Donnell). But it is hardly out of the woods yet, and the idea that Toyota is in trouble is rather amusing.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Toyota is in trouble the same way that GM was in trouble in the 1970′s. It’s just a matter of how they go forward from here (i.e., make the really difficult/politically unpopular decisions to ensure success (like closing under-utililized, cost ineffective factories in Japan) or by cheapening the cars (most would agree that this is the path currently being taken) and kicking the can down the road. Toyota’s amazing profitablity was based on unrealistic exchange rates (the same as China is doing now). Imagine that exchange rates are kept artificially low and all other inputs being = you can sell something for 80% that your compitition can and still make the same margin, now imagine that the exchange rates cannot be manipulated in the same way and changes from all other inputs being equal you have to sell at 120% to equal the same margin as your competitors, this is what has happened (started with Bush and now that the government has a vested interest in the Domestics succeeding you can bet that it won’t change anytime soon). The same thing has happened with the Euro, six years ago $1 = 1.2 Euros now $1 = 0.8 Euros (and people wonder why VW didn’t go head long into US market). The cold war is over, Japan no longer finances our public debt, the advantage that Toyota used to achieve thier success has been taken away, a dying population in thier captive market and capacity built for a unsustainable/unrealistic market and they have troubles. Just a matter of how they deal with it. Faith in the infallacy of Toyota leads alot of people to believe one thing, history (including recent history of the other mega-corps in Japan) show something completely different.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    rnc,

    The Corolla, Matrix, Camry, Camry Solara, Venza, Avalon, Tundra, Tacoma, Highlander, Sequoia and Sienna are all manufactured in the United States.

    Out of the entire Toyota US line up (17 vehicles) 11 are made in the United States and 6 abroad (1 in Canada and 5 in Japan and of those 5 vehicles, one is planned for manufacture in the United States).

    So, how does the Yen to Dollar exchange rate work here? Some of the parts come from Japan, but the rest come from within the United States and the Yen doesn’t come into play when you factor in, factory overheads, labour rates, transport (which is cheaper because it is made in the same country of sale) etc.

    In fact, when you look at it, Toyota has done more than its fair share of supporting the US economy.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So, how does the Yen to Dollar exchange rate work here?

    From an accounting standpoint, it isn’t great, because the dollars get converted to yen on the books. The strong yen means that the dollars don’t get converted into a lot of yen, which hurts earnings.

    In terms of operating the business, it probably doesn’t matter as much. If they keep a lot of the cash in dollars and then use that cash to pay expenses and invest in the US and elsewhere where the dollar maintains more relative strength, then the exchange rate isn’t as meaningful. But it’s the accounting and the exchange rate that end up in the financial reporting and in the stock price.

  • avatar
    rnc

    It works b/c p&l is reported in Yen, if your revenues are in dollars and you report in Yen a 20% increase in currency valuation kills. Over half of the cars built in Japan are exported (and a huge proportion of Toyota’s expenses are related to Japan) and as most of the world’s economy is pegged to the dollar the change in exchange rates are magnified again, Toyota only has so much pricing power, the difference has to be made up in cost, which erodes pricing power, which leads to cost reductions and then that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    My point was that Toyota does have a real problem in front of it.

  • avatar
    rnc

    Basically what I’m saying is that Toyota has to decide if it wants to support an operating and production base in Japan that the world economy realistically cannot support. (Japan used to have the power to control currency, China has taken this). Does Toyota make the hard decisions (closings and layoffs in Japan) or does it slowly die like Sony, NEC and alot of the other great “Japan Inc.” companies. Just like GM wouldn’t make the hard decisions that it needed to in the 70′s, I’m saying that so far Toyota doesn’t seem to be able to either, thier original plan was to outgrow thier problems, but that was fatally built on a market based on free credit that will never exist again (or atleast not for another 80-90 years (the space b/t the GD (the last time credit caused similar bubble) and our current correction).

    And no I’m not saying that Toyota will be bankrupt in 5 years or that they will end up following the GM model. I would have to guess that won’t happen, just the dominance that they achieved will not be sustained and they will come back towards the pack rather than accelerating away from it.

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    Re: $5.9B from ATVM program

    I could not have made this point any better than compy386 so I won’t attempt it.

    Exceptional post! (which is saying a lot considering the level of intelligent discourse found on TTAC comment pages)

    I think a measured response from Farago on both points would be very good reading.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Also the 5.9 billion is not a bailout. The government lent me $7,500 to buy a home and it lends people money to go to college. Without these loans I would not have gone bankrupt and the students would have just missed out on college and not gone broke. A loan to guide behavior is different from a loan to save a company. The 5.9 billion is to get Ford to build more fuel efficient cars, a public goal.

    Regardless…

    Whenever Big Al thumps his cheerleading chest that Ford did not take government money…he is lying through his teeth.

    And this Cash 4 Clunkers scam…which was funded by TAXPAYER DOLLARS…has helped Ford.

    So…Ford has benefited from taxpayer dollars.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    And this Cash 4 Clunkers scam…which was funded by TAXPAYER DOLLARS…has helped Ford.

    And so has GM
    And Chrysler
    And Toyota
    And Nissan
    And Honda
    And Subaru
    And…

    Trying to lump Ford in with Chrysler and GM is ridiculous. They’re not the recipents of a shotgun wedding. There’s no shell game of old Ford and new Ford, and whether you agree with the $5.9B retooling loan or not, it wasn’t something they urgently needed to keep the lights on in Dearborn.

  • avatar
    compy386

    So…Ford has benefited from taxpayer dollars.

    So? So has most Americans. Our government is based on trying to benefit certain members of society based on a desire to change behavior. There are tax breaks for families with kids, scholarships for underprivileged kids, tax breaks for owning a home etc. Now I’m not following Mulally around to question his semantics, but his general point is Ford did not take a government bailout and it didn’t. True Ford takes advantage of other government programs, but I would as well. If you have a problem with how our government works complain to the government about that. There’s no reason to single out Ford.

  • avatar
    Marquis Dee

    Great debate and many good points.

    Beign a native of Ford Country, I am always glad to hear ANY good news out of Dearborn, especially when upper management changes. Frankly, I agree with those who said that Ford’s story is a good one WITHOUT the Detroit Snooze hyperbole! A bit ironic – the fact that a misleading article full of “truth stretching” distracts from, if not renders unreasonably questionable, the real progress Ford has made.

    They still have a long ways to go; my M.I.L. really wanted to buy a Ford, and after weeks of visiting dealer after dealer, and reading every source of info I could find for her on the ‘net, she wound up with a Hyundai Sonata. And I gotta say, it’s a nice car; She says, “I feel like I’m driving a Toyota”…and this from a 78-year-old lady who has NEVER owned anything but US cars! What is the world coming to?

    Were I in need of a new car, I’d consider a Ford; 5 years ago, I wanted to get one, I really did, but in the end did not – the Focus was not there yet. Hence the Toyotas (after a great Honda experience); we have a 2000 Camry made in Kentucky (more US-made parts than my sister’s Taurus) and an ’05 RAV 4 (Japan-made but soon to be made in Ontario), perform routine maintenance religiously, have had NOTHING but good experiences with them, and expect them to last a long, long time…maybe until Ford really DOES catch up and has no need for hyperbole from anyone. My next car a Ford? Maybe…some friends are giving them a try, but it’s too early to tell…but for me it’s a few years down the road!

    “He who truly knows has no cause to shout” – Leonardo da Vinci

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    She’s cute. Hope she ages as well as the Lincoln she’s leaning on.


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  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India