Mulally: Failure is an Option

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Alan Mulally has publicly admitted the possibility that his employer may– indeed might— go belly-up. Automotive News reports today that they asked FoMoCo's CEO if his employer will survive. "Don't know — race against the clock. Are we working on the right things? Absolutely. I've been there. I've seen this movie. I performed well in it. I know exactly what to do. Do we have enough time? No idea." Arriving hard on the heels of this weekend's Ford – United Auto Workers' (UAW) agreement, Mulally's startling statement could be seen as an attempt to convince Ford's rank and file to ratify a contract which may not contain job guarantees. If so, his post-admission theatrics were suitably dramatic: "The more you worry about worrying, as opposed to worrying about doing, then you're going to put this at risk," he said, slapping a piece of paper on which he'd sketched elements of his turnaround plan. "So let's just do the goddamn plan." Of course, the date of AN's pow-wow with Big Al is the critical piece of information in this regard: October 26. That's 17 days ago. Why did Automotive News sit on this bombshell until now? Did they agree to an embargo? No matter how you look at it, this one stinks.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Nemphre Nemphre on Nov 05, 2007

    I'm not worried about Ford failing. Someone else will pick up the slack for them. Jobs will be created. Life will go on.

  • Umterp85 Umterp85 on Nov 05, 2007

    PCH101: Cheering the demise of a company that will put a whole lot of people in whole lot of hurt is not cool either---not meeting bills, not being able to put food on the table is real hurt ....those cheering for this scenario should feel 2 inches tall as well.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 05, 2007
    Cheering the demise of a company that will put a whole lot of people in whole lot of hurt is not cool either The point others have made here is that if Ford or whatever go out of business, someone else will step up to fill the gap. (I doubt that former Ford drivers would just toss their car keys and start walking.) There will be workers who will have jobs building those other vehicles. They may not be the same individuals, but someone will benefit and the market will get the vehicles that it wants.
  • Jaje Jaje on Nov 05, 2007

    "It may be because of the mistakes in the past, but Ford will not be known again for these kinds of mistakes. It’s a bit of a case of once you have a reputation you don’t want, you will work harder than any to prove otherwise." Well history is on my side - some people don't pay attention to history and...well bad things repeatedly happen and the "told you so's" come out of the woodwork. Now, I wonder what's different now than before. I do recall in 2000 that Ford (and GM) proclaimed they will be the environmental leaders (as Toyonda introduced the first production hybrids) - same as they are proclaiming now that they'll have the safest car lineup (which I think ironically Honda has at this time or at least it's shared with Volvo). As before Ford boldy claimed that fuel cells and ethanol (well it was their CAFE dodging incentive) and electric cars would trump hybrids (a lot of press releases / clenched fist presentations / swooning over the future of what Ford would boldly deliver). Fast forward to 2002 and hardly anything was ever done by the Big 2 (except build more SUVs which had 40% of the crash deaths due to single car rollovers - and the Explorer Firestone fiasco was rampant). Ford eventually came out with a licensed Toyota hybrid (though the claims that Ford had a perfect system all worked out but decided to license it at the last minute - just seems a bit fishy). With all that history of bold claims and no actions...and as we live in a society of advertising and lipspeak - actions speak louder than words and history speaks volumes of where MFGRs will be in the future. Now with Ford's proclaimed safety push...would they ever be this far along with out Volvo? And how does a reskinned but not reengineered Focus stand up to the newest and completely redesigned competition (Civic / Sentra / Corolla) with today's more vigours crash safety push. Note that in 2002 the lowly Civic coupe with SAB was the first compact car ever to get 5 stars across the board crash safety. In fact that year only one other car was given the same high rating and that was an Volvo S80. What MFGR has safety devices to protect pedestrians if they'd get struck by their car with break away windshield wipers and nozzles, and a certain collapsable hood and windshield to soften the blow. It's not Ford. And yes it's not nice to wish or see people lose their jobs. But those line workers do have choices when the time comes (I've been laid off before so know what its like). Sorry but capitalism and a free market economy makes these things happen - unless Gov't bails out badly run businesses at the taxpayer's expense. That's what I want my taxes to go to is the Viagra prescriptions that many disgruntled union workers sold on the side for profit b/c it was free under their health care agreement (and nothing keeps the masses happy more than an erection).