If we were cynics, we could say that Ford just happened to get stuck in deep doo-doo when America's credit markets were still reasonably flexible. When Ford leveraged all of its assets, right down to its logo, the most difficult part was probably not getting the money, it was probably swallowing its Blue Oval pride. Yet cynics or not, a CEO has to know what to do with said money, and Alan Mulally feels he and his company have done well enough to proclaim "We are competitive now" in a new interview with The Detroit News.

For starters, Ford managed to get the UAW to concede more ground and rework agreements. Unlike GM's present situation, Ford's bondholders didn't keep shaking their heads when Ford needed to exchange debt for equity, permitting Dearborn to reduce its debt liability by nearly 33%. Ford (finally!) began showering its European design flair and cars on an American public thirsting for beautiful domestic offerings. And Ford has cut production to match demand. The result: there are 32% fewer cars on dealer lots than a year ago.

Mulally says that Ford has prepared well enough that it won't need to take taxpayer money unless things get decidedly worse, but he doesn't believe that will happen. Although he believes that Ford can't turn itself fully around until the economy does, he did say, "The downturn is a temporary thing. We just have to make it through it."

[Source: Detroit News]

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