Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
Audio – Looking ahead with Ford
Ford Motor Co Chief Executive Alan Mulally found himself in a rather strange situation this week.
It’s hard to imagine that during the week with our annual Reuters Autos Summit, there could have been a spate of bad news from another sector of the economy where one might say, “Well, maybe things aren’t that bad for the automakers”.
And yet, here we are. There were likely some long odds out there that the U.S. financials sector would look worse than the auto companies — which have struggled mightily in the past year.
Not that it’s all goodness and light in Detroit. Sales for the major auto companies have fallen to recession levels and there were several guests on Monday who went so far as to ask whether the “Big Three” would be able to keep the “Three” part of their name for the next year.
Indeed, Mulally spoke about many of the very serious headwinds facing the industry — including the weakening credit crisis and the nationwide housing collapse as being critical to get resolved if the auto sector is going to get any better anytime soon.
But for Ford, Mulally said there are several factors that look a little brighter — not least of which is that they seem to have enough cash on hand to keep them away from the currently moribund capital markets.
Mulally kicked off this year’s summit, held in Detroit through Thursday. at the annual gathering of the auto industry’s leading players.