Alan Mulally, after finally dismissing the rumors about him leaving for Microsoft, emphasized that he remains deeply engaged in day-to-day operations as well as setting the second-largest US automaker’s long-term strategy.
Credited with reviving Ford ‘s fortunes from the onset of the financial crisis, Mulally took Ford’s helm in 2006 and spurred a cultural change that helped Ford take quicker action and make bolder bets, analysts, executives and other industry observers say.
“I’m still doing everything I did,” he told reporters in a wide-ranging conversation on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show. “I’m just spending more time on the longer term issues and I’m right there on the day-to-day issues. I’m the CEO.”
One such risk is Ford’s overhaul of its top-selling F-150 truck unveiled on Monday. The truck’s body is made almost entirely out of an aluminum alloy, which Ford bets will widen its lead over rivals GM and Chrysler in the very lucrative US segment.
One long-term issue Mulally is focused on is how Ford can adapt to the growing number of consumers who live in cities where buying a vehicle is impractical — a topic of great interest to Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
Mulally said Ford would continue to partner with the planning and transportation departments in cities around the world. “What’s that means to Ford’s business model? I have no idea yet, but I know it’s going to mean something,” he said.
He added that it would be important for Ford to lower the prices of its vehicles as it improves their capability and adds safety and connectivity features. As examples, he pointed to Ford’s new global sub-B car, the Ka, and the EcoSport small SUV, which are both aimed at emerging markets like Brazil.