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Radical thinking at Ford

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SCOTT JAGOW: The big US automakers are leaving no stone unturned in their effort to turn around their fortunes. Ford's CEO tells Business Week Magazine he's looking at potential alliances with foreign carmakers. GM's doing the same thing. There's also talk that Ford might end its days as a public company. That gave Ford stock a two percent boost yesterday. More now from Marketplace's Bob Moon.


BOB MOON: The lift in Ford's share price is understandable if the founding family is really thinking about buying up the stock that would be needed to take the company private.

But University of Maryland business professor Peter Morici is skeptical, since the Ford family actually owns only a fraction of the company.

PETER MORICI:"It would likely have to pay more than 20 times that 5% to buy out the rest of the shareholders. Who will provide that kind of capital when the Ford family has such a poor track record of running the company?"

Morici says instead of grasping for control, CEO Bill Ford should be focused on ensuring the company's very survival.

MORICI:"They need management from outside the family to make the hard choices that Bill Ford is unwilling to make about labor costs and about streamlining product development."

Morici says eventually shareholders will lose patience with Ford's failure to gain any US market share in more than a decade. But taking the company private, he says, would do little more than get the markets off the back of its namesake CEO.

In Los Angeles, I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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