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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

The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  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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Comments

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! I'm laughing my head off at the very idea. But, here's the point, darlings: the three of them could hitchhike from Detroit to DC, packing tuna sandwiches in a hankie-on-a-stick slung over one shoulder, and stick a fake patch on old jeans -- but nothing can mitigate the corporate jet/tin cup reality. Part 2 is that these guys will do ANYTHING at this point for a bailout, whether "bridge loan" or by any other name. They'll crawl on all fours, eat dog doo, whatever it takes to save themselves, and I don't mean their companies. We also know that if they succeed in "persuading" Congress to this effect, the actual deal will involve campaign contributions and whatever taxpayer funds being but Tranche One of how many, under whatever guise, gaming the 2010 midterm elections and whatever members of Congress are up for grabs. I do mean grabs.

Posted by: jimmychooboots | December 1, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

If Mulally or Ford had any brains whatsoever, they would make the road trip a PR event, with a video blog and twitters the whole way.

Fat Chance.

Posted by: nmueller82 | December 1, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Why don't all three of them car pool? Along the way, they could stop in towns that would be affected by a shutdown and
do town halls with employee's. This a great opportunity for them to generate some
positive press. Oh, but that would be "visionary". Something they have lacked recently.

Posted by: mfrede | December 1, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the notion that they will do "anything". They certainly won't refund their ill-gotten gains and agree to work for no more than the lowest paid employee in their respective companies until Detroit is back on top. But we all know that is just what they should do. Our $***worthless congress should require that much and add in some meaningful conditions about producing a quality product that sets the world standard for reliability, safety and fuel economy.

Posted by: MichaelCKolb | December 1, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The reference to M's prior employment with Boeing was deeliciouus in that particular context....but....at the very same time if I were a Boeing Board Member I'd be groaning at any inferences seeping under any hangar doors. Sorta creepy, right?

Posted by: CharlesGriffith1 | December 1, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Car pooling? Great idea! But whose car are they going to ride in? Are Wagoner and Nardelli going to hop into Mullaly's Ford?

Posted by: hozro93 | December 1, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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