Ford Takes Flight

Although the metaphor “firing on all cylinders” certainly comes to mind as regards Ford’s remarkable financials reported today—third quarter net income of $1.7-billion, up $690-million from Q3 2009; ending the quarter with $23.8-billion of Automotive gross cash and total liquidity of $29.4-billion; Automotive operating-related cash flow of $900-million positive—it strikes me that some other phrase needs to be applied because jet engines don’t have cylinders, and Alan Mulally’s leadership has transformed Ford from being a conventional organization to something more extraordinary.

Although the metaphor “firing on all cylinders” certainly comes to mind as regards Ford’s remarkable financials reported today—third quarter net income of $1.7-billion, up $690-million from Q3 2009; ending the quarter with $23.8-billion of Automotive gross cash and total liquidity of $29.4-billion; Automotive operating-related cash flow of $900-million positive—it strikes me that some other phrase needs to be applied because jet engines don’t have cylinders, and Alan Mulally’s leadership has transformed Ford from being a conventional organization to something more extraordinary.

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Clearly, his aeronautical engineering background has contributed to his understanding that the essentials matter and the extraneous needs to go by the wayside. And this doesn’t mean that something needs to be stripped down to the bare bones, because oftentimes the most superb craft is one with exquisite beauty. And while all Ford products aren’t what they need to be to be completely competitive, it is evident that they are doing what it takes to transform that lineup to make it even better.

Here’s a bullet point from the Ford release that should not be overlooked:

· Ford will deliver solid profits in 2010 with positive Automotive operating-related cash flow, and continued improvement in 2011

Any question about the competitiveness of a U.S.-based auto manufacturer needs to be put to rest because of the relentless improvement by all of the people at Ford.