How does #7 on the Fortune 500 go undetected - just ask Ford

Amidst all of this talk of bailouts and closures for the auto industry, Ford has been conspicuous by its absence in all of the discussion. Why is that? It is because, unlike his counterparts at Chrysler and GM, Alan Mulally, the President and CEO of Ford, has figured out how to clean up his own house. He cut production, he cut costs, he improved the design of the cars to meet customer demands and he was able to get some concessions from the auto unions. But most importantly, he was able to do this without going cap-in-hand to the government for bailout money. Wow, that sounds strangely like how to run an effective business. The amazing part about it is that he has managed to do this with little press compared to his other Detroit counterparts.

Now let's put this in perspective. Ford is still going to lose billions of dollars this year, but they actually beat Wall Street's estimate of how much they were going to lose, which kind of sounds like they are the best of the worst. But I suppose there is reason for optimism in that we may have seen the worst of this economy and we have at least one US car company that seems to be able to avoid the bankruptcy courts. Mulally should be recognized for his bohemian efforts in leading the turnaround of Ford and he should get credit for doing what his colleagues at Chrysler and GM cannot seem to do, make the best of a bad situation.

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