Ford bails out of bailout

Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: By the end of the day, we could have a vote in Congress on the automaker loans. But the people who run Ford say they don't need the money. They've bailed out of the bailout. Ford says it can pull itself up by its own bootstraps. What we want to know is why is Ford able to say this, but GM and Chrysler cannot? Marketplace's Dan Grech looked into it.


Dan Grech: Ford's sales have tanked, its buyers have gone foreign, the company's bleeding billions.

But David Cole at the Center for Automotive Research says Ford made a critical move back in 2006, when loans were plentiful and cheap. The company set up a $23 billion credit line.

David Cole: They said to their creditors at that time, "You can own the company, but we need the money." That right now is a very important asset that Ford has without dipping into a federal loan at this point.

In the last three years, Ford has closed factories, eliminated 50,000 jobs, and sold off Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. Still, Cole says Ford is fragile.

Cole: They may not be in the loan, but if there's a failure of major competitors, because of the failure then of the supply structure to the industry, their world ends as well.

Ford's focusing on becoming a leader in hybrid powertrains -- and eventually, electric cars.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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