Ford has managed to avoid the media spotlight surrounding Detroit lately, mostly because they’re the only ones not desperately trying to salvage valuables out of the burning building that is their corporation. Chrysler limped to Fiat. GM is on its knees, about to commit hari cari.
Now, following reports of ubiquitous dealer closings from both GM and Chrysler this week, Ford has issued an official Says You! to its competitors. Ford has refused any stimulus funds whatsoever thus far, claiming that they would be able to find their own way. Now, it appears, the upper echelon are really starting to believe it. And so are the shareholders.
For the fifth straight year, shareholders have voted down a motion to eliminate the Ford family’s class B stock, which gives them a 40% share and almost full control of the company at large.
Ford has lost $1.4 billion this year already, bringing their grand total losses to $30 billion over the past three years. Yet, even with dismal sales figures, Executive Chairman Bill Ford remains optimistic, saying: “much of the tremendous progress we have made has been overshadowed by the economic crisis of historic proportions that began last year. We are undergoing the most rapid and far-ranging transformation in our history.”
Chief Executive Allan Mullally announced in front of reporters that he, too, is confident that Ford will weather this crisis and come out on the other side leaner and more viable, and he maintains that they will break even and return to profitability by 2011.
Thankfully, Ford had already started restructuring in 2006 when it hired Mullally, and as such had a good two or three step on the rest of the Big 3 when this financial crisis descended. We can only hope that Ford and Mullally aren’t simply blowing a lot of hot air on a bunch of traumatized shareholders.