Bill Ford Says He Has Some Regrets
Except that Bill Ford, Executive Chairman at Ford, the family-controlled business, did mention a few of those regrets at a speech he gave at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island in Michigan yesterday. He said he regrets that Ford missed the chance to take the lead on the environment when it could have, regrets not acting more quickly when Ford started it’s recent downward slide, and also rues letting the designs of Ford’s sedans go stale. Regarding the styling of the company’s four-door passenger cars, Ford said, “We didn’t stretch enough in the past few years. I think as we got back into the car business we weren’t perhaps bold enough.” Gosh, you know, Bill, I think you might be on to something there.
More telling was the statement concerning Ford’s missed opportunity to lead out front on environmental concerns. Bill Ford is known for his personal interest in many environmental causes, and the fact that he was unable to influence Ford Motor Company to adopt a more environmentally-friendly product lineup has always been a curiosity to me. If Bill Ford had been able to synch Ford-the-car-company up with his personal beliefs, Ford-the-car-company might find itself in a dramatically different competitive position in 2007.
Bill Ford said a few other things in yesterday’s speech:
He said he hired Alan Mulally because he couldn’t find anyone at Ford that was up to the turnaround challenge. He said he’s been deliberately keeping a low profile since then in order to give Mulally the freedom he needs to do his job.
Stated that Ford’s internal data showed that they were just about even with Honda and Toyota on quality and performance concerning many of Ford’s cars, but “if you ask the average person on the street about that, they would think you are crazy.” Ford intends to do more comparison advertising like the current Fusion campaign in order to let customers know that Ford makes cars that are just as good as Toyota and Honda automobiles.
Said he was”very disappointed” in Sen. Barack Obama’s recent and highly critical remarks about Detroit automakers.
Declared that the U.S. healthcare system was “broken”,but stated that he was not advocating a national healthcare system.