Mr Mulally Goes To Washington

mr mulally goes to washington

Business Week caught up with the Ford Circus road trip to Washington for a telephone interview. Having presumably learned some lessons on that last trip, Alan is re-engaging with the wonders of road food and claims to like it! “We stopped at a dynamite service plaza and we bought a little boxed lunch.” Wow, after putting up with the crap food served on the Boeing and Ford corporate jets old Alan must be in heaven to finally get some good old fashioned Service Plaza Boxed Lunch. Somebody tell him not to eat the box, even if it does taste just like the sandwich. You have to hand it to the guy for being able to spin with the best of ’em though.When asked about the previous Washington spanking session he said: “I was surprised. But going through it and reflecting on it, I really learned a lot. The enormous issues we have in the country, the economy, the financial crisis and the credit crisis, and unemployment, consumer confidence. And all these things where everyone is trying to figure out the most important thing to stabilize the economy. So my appreciation for the frustration, and my compassion for the thoughtfulness that many of the Congress people had, really went up. It also brought home for me the sense of history that is in people’s minds about the auto industry. To be able to hear firsthand the thoughts about the industry and lack of consistency of purpose and improving the automobile year after year, and letting our quality go up and down and letting our fuel economy go up and down, and the labor agreements that our managements made that really hurt our competitiveness-this is real-life stuff. To hear all that over two days was the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me even more committed to the plan we have to focus totally on the Ford brand, sizing our production to the real demand for our products, and to balance our offerings with cars as well as trucks. Boy, did I ever learn about ‘getting it,’ and communicating that I ‘get it.'” Werner Erhard must be proud of the central role “getting it” has taken in modern America.

On the question of cost competitiveness visa-vis transplants, Mulally gives the toss to Gettlefinger: “UAW President Ron Gettelfinger will be with us, and you can imagine that will be part of the conversation.” Partly to make that medicine go down, Mulally has committed to reducing his own salary to $1/year IF Ford avails itself of the requested $9 billion federal line of credit. Mulally’s big job this week is to distinguish Ford from its hometown competitors while still getting as much food out of the pig trough as possible. A tough act to pull off after a long drive in an Escape hybrid and dinner at a truck stop.

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  • MattVA MattVA on Dec 04, 2008

    jayparry and tony-e30, I think it's pretty obvious he already knew these things. This little speech was not for us. It was to butter up the insane egos of members of Congress. "Wow, Congress has it so hard. Their work is so hard, and it must be hard to have all that responsibility. They're such great people, I just hope they'll be able to take time from their super busy schedules to listen to little old us." Obvious BS to most people, but I have a feeling Congress ate it up.

  • Geeber Geeber on Dec 04, 2008
    MattVA: I think it’s pretty obvious he already knew these things. This little speech was not for us. It was to butter up the insane egos of members of Congress. Bingo! He's not stupid. What was he supposed to do - parrot various automotive websites (,, etc.) and whine about how mean those legislators, reporters and members of the Saturday Night Live cast were to him...? THAT would have gone over well...

  • FreedMike In unrelated news, my left shoulder has gotten used to me patting it with my right hand, while saying “man, were you smart for buying last year before this all got out of hand.”
  • FreedMike I’d like to say I’m outraged and won’t buy anything from GM, but aside from a Stingray or a CT5 V Blackwing, they don’t make a damn thing I want anyway.
  • FreedMike Well, given that the plastic “wrap,” featuring any number of colors ranging from off-the-wall to utterly obnoxious, is now a thing, maybe these guys figured they’d get a piece of the action.
  • SCE to AUX Hyundai still gives 3 years of Bluelink for free, then it's $99/year after that. I like it, and I pay for it.I agree that GM is just finding a way to raise prices, but what happens after 3 years - does OnStar disappear?This isn't different from other moves by mfrs. For instance, many drop the FWD option and standardize on AWD, while raising prices $1500. Few people complain about that.
  • KevinB I have three vehicles with OnStar solely for the purpose of accident response. Everything else they offer is useless to me because Bluetooth pairs my phone and car for hands free calls, Android Auto pairs with my newest car just fine, and if my car gets stolen, I don't ever want to see it again. The monthly diagnostics report in my email are also a good thing, but roadside service is a joke. My older cars, however, will cease operating by the end of the year because 2g/3g will go away. GM has no plans to retrofit an upgrade to these cars. It makes me wonder how many subscriptions they will be losing because of this.