Moody's upgraded Ford's credit rating to investment grade today, the final step for the company to be able to reclaim its Blue Oval. Ford had offered its globally recognized trademark as part of a 2006 loan package. According to the Detroit Free Press, the collateralized logo and the rest of Fod's assets and intellectual property would not return to the automaker until it achieved an investment-grade credit rating with at least two of the three major agencies. Last month, Ford's credit was upgraded by Fitch.

At the time the loan was issued, the move was viewed as bold and risky, as Ford literally bet the farm that it could pay back the $23.5 billion. But as it turned out, the automaker's head start on restructuring allowed it to weather the financial crisis and resultant industry downturn in 2008 without declaring bankruptcy and needing government intervention like its cross-town rivals.

The upgrade from Moody's is said to potentially help Ford by lowering its borrowing costs, and certainly having its assets back should allow everyone in Dearborn to sleep peacefully tonight.

Scroll down to read Ford's official statement.
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Statement on Ford Investment Grade Rating by Moody's Investors Service

DEARBORN, Mich., May 22, 2012 –The following statement can be attributed to Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company:

"The Ford Blue Oval is back where it belongs with the Ford family of 166,000 employees around the world. This is a great day for us and is the result of several years of hard work and progress by everyone associated with Ford.

"When we pledged the Ford Blue Oval as part of the loan package, we were not just pledging an asset. We pledged our heritage. The Ford Blue Oval is one of the most recognized symbols in the world, and it is a source of great pride and passion, both inside and outside our company. Getting the Ford Blue Oval back feels amazing, and it is one of the best days that I can remember."

The following statement can be attributed to Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company:

"We are so proud of today's decision by Moody's and the resulting release of all collateral – particularly the Ford Blue Oval. This is an important milestone and further proof that, by staying laser-focused on our One Ford plan, the Ford team can deliver great products, build a strong business and contribute to a better world even through the most challenging external environment.

"Moving forward, we will continue to focus on driving profitable growth for all of our stakeholders. We are confident that, by staying focused on our plan and working together, we will maintain strong investment grade ratings through all economic cycles."

Background

December 2006: Raised $23.5 billion in liquidity, consisting of $18.5 billion of senior secured debt and credit facilities, secured by substantially all of our domestic assets, including the Ford Blue Oval, F-150 and Mustang trademarks, and $5 billion of unsecured convertible debt.

November 2007: Together with the UAW, Ford negotiated a transformational labor agreement, with a lower wage structure for new employees and flexible work rules

March 2009: Reached ground breaking UAW agreement that helped the company achieve parity with transplant automakers, resulting in incremental annual savings and efficiencies

October 2009: Reported first quarterly pre-tax operating profit since Q1 2008

Year-end 2009: Achieved a full-year operating profit and net income of $2.7 billion – an improvement of $17.5 billion from the losses of 2008

Year-end 2011: Reported third year in a row of improved annual operating profits and reduced debt by more than $20 billion compared with year-end 2009

September 2011: Completely paid back the loan

March 2012: First dividend payment in almost six years


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Luke
      • 2 Years Ago
      "...the rest of Fod's assets..." Seriously?! Even the spell checker in CHROME flags 'Fod's'. Who's proofreading this stuff?
      Devonblue4u
      • 2 Years Ago
      The question back when Ford mortgaged the company was"why?". GM believed they were okay at the time and their stock reflected that idea. Mercedes still owned Chrysler. 2 years later, the world changed. And Ford still had the cash to keep the products they were developing alive. Were seen all of their planing take shape over the past few years, and there is still more to come. Bravo, Ford.
      Donald
      • 2 Years Ago
      "the collateralized logo and the rest of Fod's assets" Wow, I've heard of insulting an automaker, but calling it foreign object debris? That's just low. [/sarcasm] All in all, I think Ford's done an outstanding job of turning themselves around, and I am most impressed with the quality of their vehicles - much better now than they were 8 years ago.
        Jesus!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Donald
        You would think quality was better yet the 2010 F150 supercrew I had and even the 12 Focus saw the shop more than the 2000 Taurus and 02 F150 sitting in my driveway right now. Its been paint issues, rattles, electronics(mft), etc. To this day both the older Fords do not rattle. The 12 Taurus has been better so far but honestly the last two while still good vehicles dissappointed me severely. Im seriously debating on trying a new Chrysler product next time over a Ford for the first time since the 94 Ram came out. Now I am happy Ford is doing well dont get me wrong but they have a ways to go still.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kudos Ford.
      Luke
      • 2 Years Ago
      And congratulations, Ford. A true American success story.
      Egon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, but it was all thanks to that bailou...oh. It probably the fault of the unio...dang it...they're still there too. Well, if it weren't for those meddling kids... C'mon trolls, don't let me down. I'm sure you all can come up with something. :P
      LBJ's Love Child
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for Ford!
      Guerro
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please edit "Fod's"
      Merrill McLaughlin
      • 2 Years Ago
      "...LITERALLY bet the farm"???? I know they LITERALLY bet the Blue Oval but was there some agricultural real estate on the line as well? The author may want to investigate the difference between "literally" and "virtually."
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Merrill McLaughlin
        Maybe the problem is your taking a metaphor and applying it literally?
          Basil Exposition
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Randy
          Randy, by using the word "literally" the author is telling us that his words are not meant to be taken metaphorically.
          cpmanx
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Randy
          No, it's a legitimate point. People say "literally" when they mean "figuratively." That's just a sloppy form of hyperbole.
      SP33DFR34K
      • 2 Years Ago
      Awesome. Finally, an EXCELLENT story about a company's financial intelligence!
      Cornel001
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mullaly for (USA) president !
      mn12net
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now, all they need to do is to get the rights back to Fairmont, Probe, Aspire, Tempo and Mercury!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mn12net
        [blocked]
        Willie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mn12net
        Aspire?
        razorpit
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mn12net
        Ah what the hell since we're on a roll.... Probe?
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