Ford's Mulally to Drive To Washington This Time
After being hammered relentlessly by lawmakers for taking private jets from Detroit to Washington to beg for money last time, at least one chief executive of a Big Three automaker has gotten the message: Ford chief executive Alan Mulally will drive from Detroit to Washington to beg for money this time.
The heads of the Big Three -- Mulally, GM's Rick Wagoner and Chrysler's Bob Nardelli -- are scheduled to appear before Congress on Thursday and Friday to make their case again for a $25 billion emergency "bridge" loan that would -- they say -- stave off bankruptcy, at least for the time being.
Ford would not release any other details of Mulally's trip citing security reasons. GM and Chrysler have not said how their execs will travel.
Which leaves us with so many questions about Alan's Excellent Road Trip:
-- Will he drive by himself?
-- If so, what will he drive? Will he show how American he is, and drive a Ford F-150 pickup? Or how fuel-efficient he is, and drive a Ford Focus coupe? (35 mpg highway)? Or will he go out-of-box and drive a Volvo, which Ford owns? Or a Ford-owned Mazda? (Would probably send the wrong message.)
-- Will he stay overnight during the 520-mile trip or make the whole haul in one leg? If so, how will he pass the time? Listen to satellite radio? Talk to his GPS? Play "padiddle?"
-- If Mulally does not drive himself and instead is driven, might that not send a bad message, as well? Especially if he pulls up on Capitol Hill in a big, honkin' stretch Lincoln Town Car? With spinner rims?
-- Most importantly: Will Mulally, in this very American road-trip across the middle of America, stop at the Stuckey's along the way in Breezewood, Penn., and indulge in one of the chain's trademark Pecan Logs, an invention as American and improbable as the Popiel Pocket Fisherman?
It's only a shame that Mulally won't be able to motor in to one of the teal-roofed Stuckey's standalones, which once dotted the flat lands of Ohio and Indiana much as the mighty bison covered the Great Plains in years gone by.
If there's any irony to Mulally's Excellent Road Trip -- and there's plenty -- it's this: Before taking over Ford in 2006, Mulally was a top exec at Boeing.
-- Frank Ahrens
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December 1, 2008; 5:30 PM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Alan Mulally, Bob Nardelli, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Rick Wagoner, automakers
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