More “American Icon”…

American IconI have a couple of passages in “American Icon” that are particularly compelling — here’s one. It is from a speech that Alan Mulally gave to the Senate at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on December 4, 2008:

You were clear that the business model needs to change. I couldn’t agree more. And that’s exactly why I came to Ford two years ago to join Bill Ford in implementing his vision to transform our company and build a greener future using advanced technology. Let me share with you what we have done to change from how it used to be doing business to how we do business now.

It used to be that we had too many brands. Now we have a laser focus on our most important brand, the Ford Blue Oval. In the last two years, we sold Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover, and we have reduced our investment in Mazda. And this week, we announced we are considering a sale of Volvo.

It used to be that our approach to the customers was “If you build it, they will come.” We produced more vehicles than our customers wanted, and then slashed prices, hurting the residual values of those vehicles and hurting our customers. Now we are aggressively matching production to meet the true customer demand.

It used to be that we focused heavily on trucks and SUVs. Now we are shifting to a balanced product portfolio, with even more focus on small cars and the advanced technologies that will drive higher fuel economy in all of our vehicles.

It used to be that our labor costs made us uncompetitive. Now we have a groundbreaking agreement with the UAW to reduce our labor costs, and we appreciate the UAW’s continuing willingness to help close the competitive gap.

It used to be that we had too many suppliers and dealers. Now we are putting in place the right structure to maximize the efficiency and the profitability of all of our partners.

It used to be that we operated regionally. European cars for Europe, Asian cars for Asia, and American cars for the U.S. market. Now we are leveraging our global assets — innnovation, technology, and scale — to deliver world-class products for every market.

It used to be that our goal was simply to compete. Now we are absolutely committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations for quality, fuel efficiency, safety, and affordability.

This is the Ford story. We are more balanced; we are more efficient; we are more global; and we are really focused…

Ford is an American company and an American icon. We are woven into the fabric of every community that relies on our cars and trucks and the jobs our company supports. The entire Ford team — from our employees to shareholders, suppliers to dealers — is absolutely committed to implementing our new business model and becoming a lean, profitable company that builds the best cars and trucks on the road for our customers. There is a lot more work to do, but we are passionate about the future of Ford.