Plan pays off for Ford

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If nothing else, the astonishingly positive fiscal results announced by Ford Motor Co. today point up that an industrial corporation's slide into mediocrity-- even on a gargantuan, global scale-- cannot only be arrested but can be reversed.

For decades one of the Detroit "Big Three" automakers that together were a prime mover of the U.S. economy, Ford took its lumps far better than its crosstown rivals after a plethora of problems dating back at least until the early 1970s finally piled on enough to collapse the floor under the once-great industry based in the Motor City.

While GM and Chrysler are still in business and apparently gaining ground they are yet shadows of their former selves, while Ford has come roaring back to life like a bat-- or should I say a Thunderbird?-- out of hell. Ford said it earned $2.7 billion in 2009-- and that it now expects to be profitable in 2010, too!

The New York Times pointed out that the 2009 profit, equal to 86 cents a share, "was a swing of $17.5 billion from 2008, when the company lost $14.8 billion" and noted it's Ford’s first full-year profit since 2005. What's more, Ford ended '09 with $25.5 billion in cash reserves-- nearly twice what it had on hand at the start of the year. "It also expects positive cash flow and an operating profit in 2010, which is a year sooner than executives had previously said the company would become consistently profitable," noted the newspaper account.

Ford also expects positive cash flow and an operating profit in 2010-- and that would be a year sooner than it had previously said the company would become consistently profitable.

So how did the men and women in that big Glass House in Dearborn do it?

fordglasshouse

Things are looking up inside Ford's world headquarters

Well, according to Ford chief executive Alan Mulally, it was all thanks to having come up with a good plan and then sticking with it.

Per NYTimes, on a conference call, Mulally called the results "pivotal and historic."

Elaborating, Mulally remarked that "during the worst economic recession in 30 or 40 years, because of the strength of the plan we put in place a few years ago, we were not only able to survive but also to create a foundation that is delivering now profitable growth during that year.”

What's Hammer Lane ?

David Cullen offers his take on how truck fleet owners are impacted by today’s current events. Follow David on Twitter: @David_L_Cullen

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