GARLAND, TEXAS—A grand opening at Garland's Randall Reed's Prestige Ford Lincoln Mercury. A grand opening in the most trying of automotive times, and Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally was there.
He got the grand tour of the shiny new dealership at a time when General Motors and Chrysler dealers are being told to close. Mulally sounded like a car man.
"we have a great product line, a complete product line and we've got one of the finest dealers opening at one of the toughest times, it's going to be there for all of the customers with the best cars and trucks in the world. "
SMU economics professor Mike Davis says it's a tough time to be in the car business, but he agrees with Mulally's assessment that Ford will will soon turn around.
"It's still tough, it's just a tough business but at least ford has cash on hand, a product line, a dealer network, they are just in better shape than the other two right now."
Chrysler is in bankruptcy and GM may soon follow. Ford may also shed dealers in major metro areas, but nothing like it's domestic competitors. Davis says domestic car companies are learning from their foreign counterparts.
"The non us car companies figured out pretty early in the game that it is better to have fewer bigger dealerships, and the big three just have too many small dealerships right now."
"The plan we are on right now is that we are going to be profitable in 2011 and we are on that plan now."
Bill Long retired from Ford 39 years ago, he attended the grand opening and got the CEO's signature to prove it. He's a Ford man through and through.
"Oh, I think we are in great shape. I am not worried at all, I've got my pension, I'm not worried about it."
Bill may have gotten out of the car business when the getting was good, but if you listen to Ford's CEO, better days are just around the corner.
"We have absolutely sufficient liquidity to implement our plan and we are very pleased with the progress and the product so we're doing great."