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#1 of 30 Who would you name as the Automotive Person of the Year for 2009?
Dec 14, 2009 (7:31 am)
Time Magazine will name their Person of the Year on Dec. 16, 2009.
Who would you name as your Car Person of the Year for 2009?
#2 of 30 Man of the Year
Dec 14, 2009 (9:12 am)
Alan Mulally, President of Ford
#3 of 30 Re: Man of the Year [euphonium]
Dec 14, 2009 (10:18 am)
Alan Mulally, President of Ford
Agreed. Mulally is the only US auto exec who has a clue about the business.
#4 of 30 Re: Man of the Year [roadburner]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Dec 14, 2009 (1:14 pm)
Well, there was one guy who went in and cleaned house in Detroit a lot.
Barry something or other....
#5 of 30 Re: Man of the Year [steve_]
Dec 26, 2009 (10:30 pm)
Obama was my thought as well. Tim's MOY award is not necessarily for somebody who was good vs. bad, just who made the most impact. I also think Mulally is a good choice, but I'd have to say Barry. WIthout the continuation of the bailouts, GM would have failed eventually with Wagoner at the helm. GM has a chance but the UAW is still there and might have gone away with a more "natural" failure. So like it or not, Barry's decision to not allow a US manufacturer of the size of GM to fail completely shaped the entire auto landscape for this and many years to come.
#6 of 30 Re: Man of the Year [tlong]
Dec 31, 2009 (3:21 pm)
i'm picking Mulally because he is actually involved in making the decisions that are shaping the future of the corporation.
POTUS Obama's influence is by proxy. He is primarily focused on other issues, as he should be IMO.
#7 of 30 Re: Who would you name as the Automotive Person of the Year for 2009? [Sylvia]
Jan 01, 2010 (2:05 am)
Allan Mulally, hands down.. Who else
Jan 01, 2010 (2:06 am)
With his bright smile, open face and lick of light brown hair, Alan Mulally looks like an overgrown boy scout. If Richie Cunningham of Happy Days had never met the Fonz and gone straight into business, he might have turned out like Mulally. “Gee, Dominic, that’s a kinda neat way to ask that question,” he chirps at one point during our interview.
Don’t be fooled. Mulally may look and sound preppie, but he is a killer preppie. He starts his day at 5.15am, is “relentless”, according to associates, and has let people go for chatting at the back during his weekly management meetings. He is nice, very nice, but it’s a nice I wouldn’t want to get the wrong side of. Mulally’s driven nature helped to save Ford — it was the only one of the big three Detroit carmakers not to go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year — and has won him the crown of Sunday Times Business Person of the Year.
The 64-year-old, an aeronautical engineer by training, is too smart to claim Ford, the world’s fourth-biggest car group, is safe just yet. It made a $1 billion profit in the third quarter of the year, a towering achievement in a cut-throat industry struggling with a recession-driven slump in sales. “None of us is really out of the woods,” he said. “But we have a good fundamental business that will get stronger as the economy starts to grow.”
Ford avoided the great Detroit car crash of 2009, but now has to fight rivals that were kept alive with government money. Isn’t Mulally riled that both his Detroit rivals were bailed out by the taxpayer?
“No, I’m not. The advantages of not going through bankruptcy far outweigh the advantages of going through it. These guys [GM and Chrysler] are going to have to slow down their investment in new products, and customers care about products.
“They were failed enterprises. Just think about everyone that got wiped out in Chapter 11 — the shareholders and the bondholders. In there are the same banks that we borrow money from today and, because we honoured our commitments, we couldn’t have a better relationship with them.”
To understand the nature of Mulally’s achievement, you have to go back three years to his appointment. Ford was floundering, on its way to a $12.6 billion loss for the year. Its bonds were reduced to junk status by credit-rating agencies, and most analysts and commentators thought it would be the first of Detroit’s big three to fail. It was caught in the jaws of a vice; aggressive low-cost competition from Japanese and other Asian carmakers on one side and on the other the ever-mounting costs of generous pension and healthcare plans set up in the days when carmaking in America was a licence to print money.
For a group known for dash and vision throughout its 106-year history — the perfection of mass production, founder Henry Ford’s plan to put the world on wheels — it seemed paralysed by its burdens. Bill Ford Jr, a scion of the founding and still-controlling family, had been made chief executive as well as chairman, the first family member in a generation to hold the top executive job.
Under the previous boss, Jac Nasser, Ford had gone on a spending spree, adding to its stable of international brands. With the fat profits made from selling pick-ups and light trucks to affluent American customers in 1990s, Ford built up a portfolio that included Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo and Mazda. But then American profits dried up, and Ford was sinking. Bill Ford was smart enough to realise he needed help, and went looking for it.
Mulally was an unlikely appointment. He was a Boeing man through and through, having worked at the planemaker for 38 years. His big achievement was as the chief architect of the Boeing 777, the first of the big twin-engined airliners that have come to dominate long-haul routes. He was made boss of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division in 1998, but later missed out on the chief executive’s job.
Recruiting an outsider was a bold stroke for Ford. The accepted wisdom in Detroit was that you had to be a “car guy” to run one of the big three and, at Ford, that you had to come up through the rigours of the company system. Mulally had neither distinction.
It didn’t take him long to start shaking things up. The profusion of marques — and a profusion of management fiefdoms — were his first targets.
“I did a lot of due diligence before I arrived, and I clarified that after I got here,” said Mulally. “Ford had moved from the blue oval to being a house of brands. And we had really strong operations round the world, Ford in Europe, China, Australia — but they all operated autonomously. So here was the world’s 17th largest company, and it was operating as a group of regional outfits with no global scale, even though it was competing against the best global companies.”
Greater centralisation was the order of the day — and a sell-off of some of the most famous names in the car industry. Aston Martin went to the Kuwaitis. Jaguar Land Rover to the Indians (Tata Motors paid £1.35 billion, which looked cheap until sales of luxury cars fell off a cliff in the autumn of last year). Volvo is heading for China. Last week Ford said it had reached an outline deal to the sell the Swedish carmaker to Geely, a Chinese carmaker, with the handover expected to take place in the second quarter of next year.
#9 of 30 Re: From Timesonline [ignitepassion]
Jan 05, 2010 (7:39 am)
Actually Richie did ditch the Fonz and go into business. Since the 80's he's made some of the best movies of the last 30 yrs.
From his quote about the bailouts..
“No, I’m not. The advantages of not going through bankruptcy far outweigh the advantages of going through it [ for the Ford family ]. These guys [GM and Chrysler] are going to have to slow down their investment in new products, and customers care about products.
In Ford-speak this means that in BK the Ford family would have lost control of the source of their wealth so BK was never really an option.
I'd give it to Mulally also because he made all the moves that the Ford family needed to have done in the crisis. However for sheer positive impact on the nation the Executive Branch probably deserves more credit.
No one ever considered that two of the worst run and unhealthiest industrial icons of the last several generations could be resurrected from the dead in under 6 months. Chrysler may still be on life support but GM, far larger, is in rehab and looking to get back into the game. In a year or two Chrysler might, and maybe should, disappear but the nation will be much stronger and it won't be going under at the same time as GM....probably.
#10 of 30 Re: Who would you name as the Automotive Person of the Year for 2009? [Sylv
Jan 05, 2010 (8:55 am)
Mulally is the "obvious" choice; but without Obama, GM and Chrysler would be dead and buried.
They still may die, but until that happens, I'd have to go with Obama.