Ford boss pledges to drive to next Congress meeting
2 December 2008

Alan Mulally, the boss of Ford, has told reporters that he’ll accept a $1 salary next year if it helps the Blue Oval secure bailout money from the US Senate.

Chrysler’s Bob Nardelli made a similar promise in a meeting with the US Congress last week, but the bosses of Ford and GM were slow to follow his lead.

The Ford boss also responded to recent criticism that he and executives from Chrysler and GM flew to the crisis talks in Washington on their private jets.

Mulally said he would drive to Washington for his next meeting with Congress this week.

Will Powell

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2 December 2008

This is the sort of move they all need to be making if they want the people to support them. However, from what I have read about public sentiment, it seems that for the American people it might already be too little too late. Hopefully Congress will support Ford and GM but make them trim off all the loss making fat and just let Chrysler die. If that does happen, I hope Volvo and Saab will both be rescued by the Swedish. The loss of both or either of those marques would be a real automotive tragedy. As for Pontiac, it is most likely to be an unfortunate victim of its parents blind greed and blatant mismanagement. Oldsmobile is only being retained as the Chinese will buy anything with that bling grille, metal mouthed grille.

Chrysler meanwhile deserves to die. There is no quick fix for that company. It has had multiple chances to turn itself around since the seventies. The only car that appeals in its range is the 300C which is too big and too thirsty to make sense in the current climate. Chrysler it seems, is the U.S. Rover. It has designed and built itself into a corner. It seems odd when I think of the promise that company showed in the early to mid 90's with its endless stunning concepts and showcars. For me the brand is completely irrelevant in todays market place. What is it exactly? Whats its usp? What is its image supposed to reflect? What kind of person buys a Chrysler? Even the logo is pants. The majority of its range is also just that. Perhaps Congress will do us all a favour and save Dodge/Jeep but not Chrysler in its present form. Dodge and Jeep would possibly have the potential to become interesting, competitive and relevant if they were freed from the shackles of their parent.

If GM had any brains they'd just import Opels entire line up into the States and sell them all as Opels or if that was totally offensive to the American people, Chevrolets. They'd already started with the selling the Astra as a Saturn... why not the Insignia... Corsa, the lot? They shouldn't be wasting money restyling the cars to appeal to American tastes (contradiction in terms) or even rebadging them for that matter. Similarly, all of the dross badged Chevrolet that is sold here should be sold there too if for no other reason than to offer consumers fuel efficient, cheaper, smaller, bargain basement cars to rival the Koreans/Japanese. With car sales as they are in Europe right now, they've probably got enough Opels lying around factory grounds and dealers unsold here in Europe to justify shipping some of them to the States and rebadging them once there. I bet there are lots of people who'd buy a Chevy or Saturn badged Antara, Insignia, Zafira, Astra, Meriva or Corsa given the fuel savings promised.

Ford should similarly stop designing cars specifically for the United States as it seems that they already have an entire line up of modern day Edsels they cannot shift. Not to mention their rehashed and rebranded Mercury models and similarly the Lincoln offerings. The Fords all look woeful to my eyes, witness the Ford Edge which looks like a MINI / Range Rover hybrid. The Fusion & Taurus, which to my mind seem to compete in the same category... Apart from a butch and vulgar looking grilles, there is no brand identity among the lot and I think thats something Ford of Europe have already nailed like few others with its more recent products. The Lincolns are just poor relatives of Jaguar and the Mercury line up is woeful. I regularly read Car and Driver magazine's website and it appears many American consumers are begging for Ford to bring their Euro products stateside. Why have the Americans continued throwing away good money after bad on completely new models for their home market when world class models that would easily have fulfilled the brief existed in Europe? They already have the product line up they need to survive. General Motors are also sitting on a similarly competent product line over here. This is the difference between those companies and Chrysler... So... What are they waiting for?

2 December 2008

Oldsmobile died years ago, you mean Buick. But you are right, the Chinese love Buicks! And a multimillionaire saying he will forgoe his salary for a year (when he, I and everyone else knows it will hardly affect his lifestyle of private jets and free cars) when asking for 100 times that in a loan is just bluster.

2 December 2008

It would be better if Mullally came up with a bulletproof business plan than offering his annual salary - at the prsent rate of loss, his few million in the pot would keep Ford going for about 3 minutes.

2 December 2008

pdmc, as much as I agree with your general ideas, the reason Detroit cannot bring in Euro models to supply the US market is that they are contracted to keep UAW workers on production lines. Stop those guys from building and bring in cars from Germany, etc., and they'd essentially be paying twice for the cars you can only sell once.

The only hope for breaking that cycle is Chapter 11, which would cancel all contracts with the UAW, AC Delco and the other bloodsuckers that are hastening the death of GM, Ford, Chrysler. While this would be a lousy situation for US auto-related workers, who in my opinion, do not deserve to be out of a job due to union tactics and gross OEM mismanagement, it's the only way that the Detroit carmakers will get a fresh start.

From a cynical persepctive, should the US Congress choose to bail out the carmakers, they will, in practise, simply be servicing the debt that GM and the others have incurred by inking horrendous deals with their unions, which at the time (and the company awash with money) didn't seem so bad at all.

20 May 2010

actually these guys should have learnt the lesson much earlier. it might not have taken the situation to be that bad. i just tinkered with my lifted chevy recently a bit to get it look beautiful.

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