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Found On Roadside … Dazzling

So this doesn’t directly have to do with content, but Ford Motor Company deserves a shout-out for its apparent strategies of late. Particularly, two decisions that suggest a path toward Ford being the last of the (sorta) Big 3 left standing.

First, Ford passed on government bailout money at a time when you’d think they’d jump at the chance, leaving GM and Chrysler at the trough gorging themselves.

Then this past week, Ford announced that it’s reopening a plant in Northeastern Ohio (Plain Dealer) closed in 2007 that will be retooled to build eco-friendly engines for its next generation EcoBoost V-6 engine. More jobs for an area pummeled by lost manufacturing jobs and some of the worst regional morale in the country.

What intrigues me about these events are not just the PR boosts Ford stand to get from these decisions, but the thought that these are part of a master plan for success. Follow me here:

Ford starts retooling itself for building greener products by REOPENING closed plants at a time when every tier of the Big 3’s supply chain is wondering if Christmas is canceled this year. Ford is building optimism around its brand at a time when every other message we get suggests we’re all gonna end up marching on May Day and speaking Chinese.

And by not accepting government funds, Ford is not required to cap compensation at $500k per year, which sets them up to attract a lot of hand-picked talent in fairly short order. And if you think that’s hot air, it’s already happening in the banking sector – where foreign banks are offering higher compensation to attract – and land -the best US financial talent.

If these are the first signs of a new game plan at Ford to capitalize on this crisis – and I have a hunch that it is – then somebody needs to find the architect that came up with it and double whatever they’re paying him/her. Sure, it’s a gamble, but if it plays out and Ford wins, well …

We could be witnessing one of the best business strategies we’ve seen in this country, and a reason to believe in American ingenuity and capitalism – despite what you read or hear in the media.

Ford tough, indeed.

AJ Sweatt
3 Comments
  1. This is brilliant. More American companies have to adopt this type of strategy. There’s always a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And, although it’s too soon to tell, I’m heartened to see a company forego the easy handout and instead opt for a longer term success strategy.

    Great post.

  2. This is Ford’s chance, with Toyota reeling under a month of bad press. Go America!

    • Well, I think Ford is in the driver’s seat right now. GM & Chrysler have their own issues with quality, dealerships – and not to mention ownership. Toyota may be down for now, but of all the automotive companies out there right now, my money’s on Toyota. If nothing else, this will be a remarkable test of Lean and how it is applied to a recovery like this.

      BTW, where are you from? Are we related?

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