This commentary is NOT about cars or airplanes so please read it to the end to understand a valuable lesson we can all benefit from!
This morning I came across another of the unending lessons available to us if we simply pause, examine, and contemplate from time to time.
I read an article explaining why Ford Motor Company is benefiting greatly from the fact that they refused government bailout money. Maybe Ford did “Have a Better Idea!” (Remember Ford’s old slogan?)
When G.M. and Chrysler gladly accepted the offer of funds from Washington, Ford instead mortgaged itself heavily, borrowing private capital instead of taxpayer cash. At that time, new CEO Alan Mulally wanted to avoid the government control which accompanied the bail-out funds. It allowed his company to make its own decisions about new products, reorganization, and personnel changes.
As a result, Ford sales soared during the recent cash-for-clunkers month-long program and Ford products appear to be gaining popularity among new car buyers. Ford placed two of its products, the Focus and the Escape, on the list of the top ten cars bought by buyers trading in clunkers. The other eight entries were Asians, led by Toyota and Honda. In August, Ford saw a 21% rise in its retail sales overall, which indicates a diminishing reliance on unprofitable fleet sales. Ford has gained retail market share in 10 of the last 11 months.
The lesson I mentioned earlier evolved from the fact that Southwest Airlines was the only American airlines to refuse government dollars following the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy. They felt it was wrong to burden the taxpayer under those circumstances.
Long story short … when the Fortune 500 was recently revealed, Southwest Airlines was the ONLY U.S. airline to show a profit. Compare that to Ford’s recent performance and realize that it may very well pay to trust dedication, determination, and true grit to get you through trying times. It certainly seems to have worked for these two risk-taking, future-focused industry giants proving that it can be done.
By the way, have you tried the government-owned, General Motors new cologne? Hello?
Maybe General George Patton was right when he said: “Americans love a winner and hate a loser. Forget about sympathy for the underdog.”