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DATE News (chronologically)
02/19/09
automotive
Ford to stay its course: No loans  Two of Detroit's automakers are well on their way to becoming wards of the federal government, but Ford Motor Co. has no intention of joining its rivals anytime soon.

"Nothing has changed about our plan," Ford CEO Alan Mulally told me Wednesday, one day after General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC submitted requests for a combined $21.6 billion in new federal loans and credit lines. "Our plan is not to access government money. Right now, with everything I see, we have sufficient liquidity to continue our transformation of Ford.

"We haven't changed our plan," he added. "It's broad enough and robust enough to handle all these changes. We're not coming back every couple of months with a new plan like everyone else is."

For now, anyway. Plans change because conditions change, as Detroit's auto execs, congressional leaders and two presidents have learned painfully the past few months. The two events most feared by Ford -- an "uncontrolled" bankruptcy of GM or several major suppliers and, second, a significantly worse economy -- still loom as possibilities the Dearborn automaker cannot ignore.

That members of President Barack Obama's auto team already are talking privately with key industry players, less than 24 hours after GM and Chrysler forwarded their latest requests to the administration, underscores Detroit's place on the White House agenda and diminishes (for now) the likelihood of the kind of uncontrolled bankruptcy feared by Ford.

Yet other problems are emerging, the evaporation of Ford's overseas earnings among them. Even as Mulally finished the sales of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover, drew down Ford's stake in Mazda, peddled Volvo for a second time and restructured Blue Oval operations and product lines at home, Ford's units in Europe, South America and Asia Pacific were posting profits back in Dearborn. Detroit News

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