Ford Reacts on Auto Industry Challenges

by : Evander Klum

Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford said last Thursday that the local auto industry is suffering from the result of its responding dully to foreign competitors and the continuously increasing demand for clean-environment vehicles.

In a speech during the Detroit Regional Chamber's yearly Mackinac Policy Conference, Ford said that the industry is undergoing reorganization that results to the closure of the plants, layoffs, rising unemployment and a falling tax base. The conference was a gathering of 1,700 leaders in the field of business, politics and civic organizations.

In his speech, he said that legal concerns about global warming, energy security and the cost of gasoline have made a rush and pressure that lead to poorly formed solutions. He recalled four years ago when addressing the Detroit chamber, he had warned about the endless attack of foreign-made cars and other problems that pressure U.S. automakers.

In the conference he said that much of what he warned about then is happening now. Good thing is that the industry along with the others who are relying on it is doing their part.

For years of associating with environmental groups and tackling about green issues, many in auto manufacturing considered him as a "crazy radical". Fortunately, people now understand that maintaining a fine environment is the critical issue for the country's future evolution and prosperity.

His company's projects such as the Ford Rouge Center, a brown field reclamation project, and the development of the Escape Hybrid SUV, according to Ford, please him. One thing he regretted was that they did not move further and faster.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, local automakers are investing billions in technology. However, according to Ford, the industry produces only 20 percent of U.S. end products. In lieu of this, he suggested that a national energy policy be implemented as well as a forum for bringing together other carbon emitters. He firmly adhered to these in order to come up with sound solutions.

He said that huge economic opportunities for Michigan are research and development of solutions to climate change.

Ford said that his company has the assets to transform themselves into a leading research and development center. And this includes the intellectual capital, a skilled workforce and a best quality of higher education system. He believed utilizing these assets will contribute a lot in the preservation of conventional jobs and creation of next-generation high technology jobs.

When the audience asked about health care, Ford responded that its reformation was critical for automakers and other manufacturers. He added that it is a broken system that if not solved immediately will pave way for the country's difficulty in producing anything.

Rep. John Dingell, a Dearborn Democrat and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that auto mobile makers have been too unconcerned when it comes to health care and trade issues. He said that as if they are too hesitant in seeking action from the government. According to him, instead of simply complaining about their problems, the companies should tandem with specific solutions and obligate progress.

Dingell also said that the companies are doing nothing to help themselves. They just think the problem, but do not care to solve them. He gave the American auto industry a challenge to stand up for the benefit of many.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow said that the Senate Democratic Steering Committee would tackle automakers, other manufacturers and labor unions. Their meeting regarding this will be held in Washington, D.C. next Wednesday.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is an American multinational corporation. Based on the world wide vehicle sales, it is the third largest automaker all over the world after leaders Toyota and General Motors.

Maker of quality , Ford was the second-ranked automaker in the US with a 17.5 percent market share, after General Motors with 24.6 percent but ahead of Toyota with 15.4 percent and DaimlerChrysler with 14.4 percent. This was according to the 2006 records. In 2007, Ford was the seventh placer among different American-based companies in the Fortune 500 list. This was based on global revenues that amounted to $160.1 billion.

Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, the auto company was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated in June 16, 1903. Its global brands include Lincoln and Mercury of the US, Jaguar and Land Rover of the UK, and Volvo of Sweden. Ford also owns a Mazda controlling interest amounting to one-third controlling.

Aside from producing quality products, Ford has been one of the ten largest corporations around the world in terms of revenue.