Alex Taylor: Ford Says No Thanks To GM, Chrysler Offers

John Horner
by John Horner
alex taylor ford says no thanks to gm chrysler offers

Long time Fortune auto industry scribe Alex Taylor III has posted an interesting story on how and why FoMoCo is staying the hell away from GM and Chrysler. GM CEO Wagoner and Chrysler CEO Nardelli are both said to have made proposals of various sorts to Ford over these past several months. When Ford says no, it is actually Ford, Bill saying no. Bill Ford is still Chairman of the board of the company and defacto representative for the Ford family shareholders and their 40 percent voting rights. Ford Motor Company is one of very few large public companies where at least some of the shareholders actually do have a powerful say in strategic decisions. Yet, Chairman Bill and CEO Alan Mullaly still have their hands full internally dealing with the politics of the once and former Ford empire: “The prospect of financial Armageddon hasn’t put an end to the palace intrigue in Dearborn.The latest victim is chief financial officer Don LeClair. Other executives, complaining that LeClair was secretive and difficult to work with, threatened to quit if he wasn’t moved aside, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. ” LeClair isn’t the only one jumping ship; “two outside directors also decided to leave, due to, they said, the press of other business. Sir John Bond, a former HSBC chairman who gave the board some substantial financial muscle, will be missed. Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila was a less vigorous presence.” Don’t you love phrases like that, “less vigorous presence”? Check out the classic movie “Executive Suite” sometime to get a flavor of what goes on around mahogany row. Meanwhile, other tidbits in Taylor’s piece include a dealer’s prediction that Lincoln-Mercury’s lineup will shrink from eleven to eight vehicles for model year… 2010. The $99 billion question: which companies will survive until 2010? For now, Ford expects to be a stand-alone survivor, thanks largely to the cash hoard piled up last year by recently departed LeClair.

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  • Windswords Windswords on Oct 24, 2008

    With all due respect, I think this is another WAR with quotes like "According to a knowledgeable source..." But here is a better quote from the story because we know the source (but not the actual name): "At a regional dealer council meeting in Florida last week, one dealer announced that Ford would not be able to continue as a manufacturer by the end of next year, and added that he expected government assistance to kick in if the company should falter. The automaker quickly moved to distance itself from the unauthorized comments." And "Its recovery plan looks a little skimpy. According to a dealer, the Lincoln-Mercury franchise will shrink to eight vehicles by 2010 - three for Mercury and five for Lincoln-- from 11 today." Ford isn't even close to being out of the woods yet.

  • John Horner John Horner on Oct 24, 2008

    "Ford isn’t even close to being out of the woods yet." No argument with you there.

  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.