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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Lobbying Is Job One

With his job, his company and maybe the entire U.S. auto industry on the line, Ford chief executive Alan Mulally made the rounds on morning talk shows today in advance of two days of Congressional hearings on a proposed federal bailout of the big three automakers.

In interviews on CNBC, CNN and "Good Morning America," he said that the auto industry was in the midst of restructuring to build more of the smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that have prompted consumers to flock to Japanese brands like Toyota. The federal assistance being requested by the Big Three, he said, is needed to complete that transition, and weather a broad economic downturn that has left automakers worldwide gasping for breath – and, in Detroit’s case, running out of cash.

“The only thing we are asking for is a bridge loan system,” Mulally said on CNN. “If everybody can remember, we had gotten back to profitability in the first quarter of the year…None of us ever anticipated that we’d be in a world where our sales in this industry have fallen by 40 percent in the first nine months.”

Regarding demands that any federal aid by conditions on faster progress towards more fuel efficient vehicles, Mulally said “it is a promise we are already delivering on…We have been there on fuel efficiency since day one.”

--Howard Schneider

By Washington Post Editor  |  November 18, 2008; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Detroit bailout, Ford  
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