POSTED: Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 8:43pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:06am
Ford does it the hard way...
The October sales news was a long-awaited tonic for Ford and General Motors.
GM sales rose over 4% and Ford was up a little over 3% in a month that saw Toyota sales essentially flat, and Honda lose ground.
GM is near the point where they can wean themselves from partial government ownership, but Ford did it with an all or nothing riverboat gamble made 3 years ago.
David Erwin is General Manager of Tyler Ford.
“We were excited that we had the CEO change," Erwin remembered. "We were happy Mulally was on board. We were pretty positive. We knew if we got some cutting edge product, that we’d be OK.”
Ford CEO Allan Mullaly came from the aircraft industry having headed Boeing before the Ford move, and he knew about tough foreign competitors. In 2006, Ford was flat on its back…nothing was working. that’s when he made a fateful decision.
He borrowed 8 billion dollars in working capital by leveraging every factory, building, property and piece of machinery the company owns. the blue Ford oval was even hocked…
“With that infusion of money," Erwin says, "it brought in new vehicles to us and new designs and much more cutting edge technology than we’d had.”
And he doubled down on the wager that the product in the pipeline was going to save the company…and the market was going to turn around…North American President Mark Fields agrees.
“But I do believe we are going to see gradual improvement over the next couple of quarters," Fields told us,"that the economy starts getting back on its feet. We’ve been a leader in trucks for 32 years and Texas is the number one state for selling trucks. It’s twice the national average in the number of trucks that are sold.”
“We’re getting a fair shake," Erwin says. "We’re getting people that are giving us a look because Ford didn’t take the bailout.”