Tuesday's speech came as Ford Motor is preparing to announce a restructuring plan in January, which will likely involve idling plants, laying off thousands of workers and implementing other cost-cutting actions certain to hurt the local and national economy.
“Now, more than ever, with the competitive pressures of globalization, America needs to respond to the economic challenges of our time," Ford told journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“This is not the moment to stop investing and concede our competitive edge in vital parts of the economy. Just the opposite, we must take the lead and show the world that there is only one, true innovative manufacturing giant. And it has three distinct initials: U.S.A."
Ford said that the domestic auto industry deserves “to suffer the consequences" if it doesn't adapt to the changing business climate.
“However, if we innovate and take the necessary steps, we will succeed as we always have, with the might of America behind us. That's what we've done throughout American history, through the ups and downs of war and tough economic cycles. Our government must view the challenges of this era through the same lens – and stand by American workers, and American industry as it always has."