Ford CEO Alan Mulally Taunts the UAW; Lincoln Kuga?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

By last Friday, it was clear that the United Auto Workers rank and file found their new, no-strike contract rank, and filed their objections during voting. In other words, the union’s members rejected the deal. Which left Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s rep seriously dinged. After all, Big Al’s been talking-up Ford’s return to profitability ever since he banked that first $25 million paycheck. The union vote against the strike was a vote for Big Al’s plan. If he’d kept his mouth shut or, better yet, constantly warned against looming collapse, the UAW might have made the ultimate concession. But then investors wouldn’t have dumped more money into Ford and the Ford family members signing Mulally’s big ass paychecks would have been seriously spooked. Big Al can’t win from losing, as the Brits would say.

But it is curious that he waited until AFTER the contract went down in flames before telling Automotive News [sub] that Ford “has flexible manufacturing plants and global vehicles ready to go. Throw in the weak U.S. dollar, and that means Ford now could even export vehicles made in its U.S. plants.” Or did he say it earlier, and AN held off? Or did Mulally offer the bribe to the UAW in private before, and only mentioned it to AN on Friday, who held off ’til Monday? In any case, it’s a pretty ridiculous idea. Why didn’t Ford threaten the union to remove work instead? Answer: they did.

Ford of Europe CEO John Fleming told reporters last week that if demand warrants, Fiestas could be shipped from Mexico to Europe.

“The one virtue we’ve got with our One Ford strategy is — apart from anything which legally needs to be different — the products are the same,” Fleming said.

“So in any case, from anywhere, you could import and export products.”

Too subtle? In any case, the UAW wasn’t about to sell their soul for a few good jobs. Now what’s this about a Lincoln Kuga? For one thing, shouldn’t it be a Mercury Kuga?

Fleming noted that volatile currency exchange rates make it difficult to make long-term plans for exporting.

Indeed, when the value of the euro rose sharply in early 2007, Ford scrapped a plan to make a Lincoln-badged version of the Kuga in Germany and export it for sale in the U.S. market beginning in 2008.

Big Al decided to build the Lincoln MKT instead of that? Even so, what does THAT have to do with American luxury? Lincoln: saved by exchange rates only to fall into badge engineering hell.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Willman Willman on Nov 03, 2009

    Forget the Enrons and the Adelphias of the world, Michael Eisner and Terry Semel were both much less deserving of what they were paid than Al. If you're going to complain, Al's nowhere near the top of the list. -Even in recent history.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 03, 2009

    I like the looks of the Kuga. Would cross shop it against a CR-V.

  • Grg I am not sure that this would hold up in snow country. It used to be that people in snow country would not be caught dead in a white car. Now that white cars have become popular in the north, I can't tell you how many times I have seen white cars driving in the snow without lights. Almost all cars are less visible in a snow storm, or for that matter, rain storm, without lights. White ones become nearly invisible.
  • Douglas I have a 2018 BMW 740e PHEV, and love it. It has a modest electric only range compared to newer PHEV's (about 18 miles), but that gets me to the office and back each day. It has a small gas tank to make room for the battery, so only holds about 11 gallons. I easily go 600 or more miles per tank. I love it, and being able to take long road trips without having to plug in (it just operates like a regular Hybrid if you never plug it in). It charges in 75 minutes in my garage from a Level 2 charger I bought on Amazon for $350. Had an electrician add a dryer outlet beside the breaker box. It's the best of both worlds and I would definitely want a PHEV for my next car. 104,000 miles and ZERO problems with the powertrain components (so far).
  • Panther Platform I had a 98 Lincoln Mark VIII so I have a soft spot for this. The Mark VIII styling was not appreciated by all.
  • Grant P Farrell Oh no the dealership kept the car for hours on two occasions before giving me a loaner for two months while they supposedly replaced the ECU. I hate cords so I've only connected it wirelessly. Next I'm gonna try using the usb-c in the center console and leaving the phone plugged in in there, not as convenient but it might lower my blood pressure.
  • Jeff Tiny electrical parts are ruining today's cars! What can they ...