Posted by Dale Buss on June 7, 2011 06:00 PM
Was it an accident that Ford chose to make a presentation to the investment community on the same day – today – that arch-rival General Motors held its annual meeting? Probably not.
Both the revived GM and the steady Ford are looking toward the future more than ever, having survived the Great Recession by somewhat different means. And that involves persuading investors, suppliers, customers, governments and other constituencies that each is a “new” entity now able to realize high-flying dreams of increasingly global success.
That’s why GM CEO Dan Akerson told shareholders this morning in Detroit that the company’s global manufacturing footprint gives it a “legendary” advantage in emerging markets – including China, India and South America – that will be crucial for future growth. And indeed, in China for example, GM now challenges Volkswagen for leading market share, while it’s got about four times the share there of Ford.
At the same time, Ford CEO Alan Mulally was able to brag to the investment community today about Ford’s profitability in North America and Europe, which is far better than GM’s. Among other things, that is a result of higher pricing for Fords than for competing GM models, such as the Ford Fusion versus the Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan. Mulally also sketched out ambitious growth plans that would see Ford joining GM, Toyota and/or Volkswagen in the top tier of global automakers by mid-decade.
In any event, it’s a good thing for the domestic auto industry that both of its biggest participants have real bragging rights in vastly important areas of the global marketplace. If they and their competitors can continue to get little nudges from the shaky industry recovery in the U.S. market and elsewhere, expect Akerson and Mulally to be doing some more boasting real soon.