By Sam Haymart
Ford has been the underdog American success story so far. They were able to avoid asking Uncle Sam for a bailout last winter. They paid off $9 billion in debt last month which volleyed their stock prices up from the $1.50 range. Other great news this week was the first quarter results that showed a loss of only $1.4 billion. Yes, good news is a smaller loss than expected these days. Ford stock closed at a high of $5.00 today. Happy times.
What really puts Ford at an advantage going forward is that they have a the best product lineup today of new cars that are best in class. Coming in the next year are even more brand new models that have been showing promise in Europe and in the motoring press. Bottom line, is that they started a few years ago to revamp their products and the fruits are blooming just in time for recovery.
Best yet is that Ford has a free hand to build what consumers want. GM and Chrysler are now under the oppressive politically correct oversight of the Federal Government. Chevrolet for example cannot choose to build a new 550hp Camaro Z-28 without a damn good lashing. Both companies are going to have a hard time getting money approved to build anything but gutless greenie-boxes that nobody wants.
We asked Ford CEO Alan Mullaly in an interview last week how he felt about Ford's freedom to build high performance cars competitors may not be able to due to government oversight. He replied, “While we strongly desire to see our fellow American manufacturers survive, we will continue to pursue the kind of products that our customers want”. That was as strong a statement as he would make, but one we saw as positive for Ford performance in the coming years.