American Morning

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March 31st, 2009
01:07 PM ET

Model Ford?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A talented fan, Mario Della Casa, sent Kiran this painting."]

Hi Everyone,

Have you driven a Ford lately?

Mark Fields sure hopes you do. He's the EVP of Ford Motor Company and I spoke with him this morning. Ford is the only "big 3" Detroit automaker who isn't getting bailout money from Americans to stay afloat. As we've been reporting, the Obama Administration has ousted GM's CEO and given the company an ultimatum, "show us you're viable in 60 days or no more money." Chrysler's been told, "merge with Fiat and we want your plan to stay afloat in 30 days or else." Read more

So how did Ford manage to stay afloat in the worst year for the company in its 105 year history? And how will Fields continue to operate? Because he says his company is still passing on taxpayer money. Watch

So, as the 3 companies pledge to do what they can to stay above water, there are still huge questions that remain about their future. Where does the U.S. government draw the line on how involved it gets in the decisions of these private companies? And to what extent can the U.S. government back the warranties, and guide and finance the futures of the once mighty automakers? President Obama has said "These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own". So maybe 2009 will be a better year for them. But in the end, people have to want to buy their cars. And they need credit to finance them in many cases. And they certainly want guarantees that they are buying cars from companies that won't go under in 6 months.

So Ford is hanging tough for now and in the end may be the last man standing in the Motor City.

As always we want to hear from you. Follow us on Twitter: @kiranchetrycnn and @amfix



Filed under: Roundup
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tony

    There is a reason Ford wasn't begging for bail out loans. Quality speaks for itself.

    April 1, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  2. ed zelnis

    I have driven nothing but Fords for the last twenty years. For the most part, I have found them to be good cars, although I had to get rid of two of them at 90,000 miles, because the transmissions blew out. I was told that this was a chronic problem.
    I do some hauling, and used to like the Taurus station wagon, until the company discontinued it, and I got forced into an Explorer. I get about 15 miles to the gallon, and was paying $550 per month on gas, when the gas prices were high.
    I am almost ready to buy a new vehicle, and may go away from Ford for the first time. The reason: I want a hybrid SUV, and have looked at the Escape. For a reason I don't understand, the company did not equip the Escape hybrid with stability control, a vital safety feature. It is on the regular Escape, but not on the hybrid. Typical of the kinds of dumb things that American automakers do to drive away business.

    March 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  3. Kel

    I have driven some Fords lately and think they are pretty good cars. However Ford needs to craft a brand strategy and reinforce it over a number of years. What does Ford products stand for? How do they want to be known? Is it value? Performance (Mustang)? Quality? Style? At least the trucks are "Ford Tough".

    Kirin should have asked what is Ford's USP, why consumers should believe, and how they plan to reinforce it long term. Only by developing this and delivering product against that brand promise can Ford or any automaker hope to succeed long term. It takes time but consistency is key and stop doing rebates. People are conditioned to buy at less than MSRP. Smaller volumes that delight consumers will give more revenues. It isn't rocket science but it does take discipline. CPGs do it day in and day out to make their brands relevant.

    March 31, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  4. Lamar from Lakeland, FL

    If we let the American auto companies go bankrupt, who will make our weapons if we go to war against China and their Asian allies?

    If the auto companies, banks and other corporations would quit paying their managgement people millions of dollars plus bonuses, they wouldn't have to borrow money from the tax payers to stay in business.

    We tax payers have to loan them money for them to loan us the money back just for them to stay in business. No wonder its not working.

    No bailed out corporative executive should make more than the tax payers pay our CEO Obama at $400k per year.

    March 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  5. Mat

    I'm a democrat and I fully support President Obama, but that doesn't mean I fully support his every decision. I thought part of the "American Dream" was to come up with an idea to do something better than somebody else, and be financially rewarded if you use that idea to start a company. If AIG, or any of the "Big 3" automakers fail, it's because they couldn't find a way to do it better than the other guys. By giving these companies money, aren't we just rewarding failure? Why aren't we saying "Sorry, Mr. Big 3 automaker. You failed to hold a profitable business. You're going to go out of business so another company with better ideas can take your place." Tesla Motors, I'm looking your way. Isn't that part of the American Dream?

    March 31, 2009 at 5:13 pm |

    I think it's a good thing for the prez. to tell the other two,if you don't show us that you have some sort of plan no more money! I say, hey, congrats to ford for hanging in there!! love the show!!!

    March 31, 2009 at 2:36 pm |