Ford’s Allan Mulally- the best/last auto man standing?

Ford CEO Allan Mulally will again keynote this year’s CES.    Last year Mulally’s keynote was exceptional both in content and innovation as well as how passionately Mulally seemed to feel about Ford’s prospects in the very troubled times of the auto industry.   With a background in Aerospace Engineering, Mulally seemed the right man at the right time to face the difficult challenges ahead for Ford.

After the talk I had a chance to ask him if Ford would need auto industry bailout money and he said “no”.    Although Ford has enjoyed some loans from the US Energy Department I do not believe they’ve requested bailout funding, and it really appears that under Mulally’s  leadership Ford will emerge successfully and eventually profitably from the near collapse of the US Auto industry.

mullalyCES09Photo by Technology Report – OK to use with attribution.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally at CES 2009

Ford CEO Allan Mulally really impressed the crowd and reporters after his CES Keynote about Ford in vehicle connectivity and navigation innovations including systems to merge cellular connectivity with vehicle systems, a customizable dashboard, and a humanized communication interace called “Eva” which will allow the driver to request features and “talk” to the car.

Mulally was even more impressive after his talk when he answered questions from the tech crowd about Ford’s plans.   His enthusiasm or Ford and for technology in cars came through loud and clear.

I had a chance to ask him if he thought all this innovation would require money from the government as part of the auto industry bailout.   Ford is the only one of the three key US manufacturers that has not asked for money, and Mulally indicated they did not have plans to do so based on his assessments of the quality of Ford vehicles and how their new models are gaining acceptance even in Europe, especially Germany where Ford remains a popular brand name.

Although I wouldn’t bet on Ford not asking for a piece of the bailout pie eventually it is great to see a charismatic and technologically sophisticated fellow in charge of one of American’s most complex and valuable industries.  If Mullaly can’t pull Ford’s feet out of the fire, nobody can.