In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 25, 2006 / 4 Teves, 5767

Ford tries to outrace the repo man

By George Will

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | DEARBORN, Mich. — If Alan Mulally, Ford Motor Co.'s chief executive, is looking for fresh words to inspirit his troubled company — words to replace "The Way Forward," which rang hollow as Ford slid further backward — he might try: "Lay off the cheeseburgers, America — you're killing yourself, which is your business, but you're also killing Ford, which is my business." That exhortation is not pithy but is oddly pertinent.

The average weight of American men (191 pounds) and women (164 pounds) has increased 25 pounds since 1960. And according to one study, in 2003 Americans' 223 million cars and light trucks burned an extra 39 million gallons of fuel for every additional pound of passenger weight. So Americans are using almost a billion gallons of gasoline more each year than they would if they were as (comparatively) svelte as they were in 1960. Because Ford is more a truck company than a car company (its big moneymakers are F-Series pickups, and sport-utility vehicles such as the Explorer are classified as trucks), it has been hit especially hard by changing consumer preferences produced by high gasoline prices. That is one reason Ford lost $5.8 billion in the third quarter.

Mulally, 61, is frequently described as having "boyish" looks and pep. But it has been only three months since William Clay Ford Jr., Henry's great-grandson, replaced himself with Mulally (Ford remains the company's executive chairman), who is going to find this an aging experience.

Already he has taken one of the great gambles in the history of American business, one perhaps unavoidable if Ford is to avoid bankruptcy. Ford has taken $23 billion in loans, most of that sum secured by almost everything Ford owns — physical assets, patents, trademarks. The market value of Ford's outstanding stock is $15.4 billion. "The data," Mulally serenely acknowledges, "say we're going out of business."

Perhaps he is serene because he has seen, and seen off, conditions that were, if not worse, really bad. After Sept. 11, when the commercial airline market froze, Mulally, who then was at Boeing, oversaw the downsizing of that company's payroll from 127,000 to 52,000.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Still, the most difficult military maneuver is a retreat under fire, because it can become a rout, and the same is true of a corporate contraction. However many people Ford hires — at reduced wages — to replace some of the approximately 38,000 United Auto Workers employees who have agreed to buyouts, many of them will never have built a car. This could mean quality problems, which could further depress Ford's market share, driving a downward spiral.

Mulally's vision for Ford is forward-looking nostalgia. He wants to restore Ford to the role it had in "the middle America that we grew up with." But to "spiff up the blue oval" — Ford's trademark — he must market cars designed on the assumption that gasoline prices "are staying up." He talks about the need to "take the hard decisions" and "rationalize our product family" with a "simplified product portfolio." He stops short of talking — yet — about scrapping brands. But why is the company still making the Mercury, the average age of whose buyers is 55? Perhaps because it cost General Motors $1 billion — payments to dealers, etc. — to eliminate the Oldsmobile brand.

Mulally says production efficiencies can solve half the company's economic problem. That will not suffice unless Ford efficiently produces exciting products. Mulally, a quick study, already has a rudimentary grasp of Detroit-speak: He says Ford must develop new products "with curb appeal — the 'wow' factor."

But in 2001, with much fanfare, Ford rolled out a new version of a 1950s success, the Thunderbird. It was underpowered, handled badly and is no longer in production. Recently, the company heavily advertised the Lincoln Zephyr. But now it is called the MKZ. Why? This is the behavior of a company whose left hand does not know what its other left hand is doing.

Seventy percent of the people who go through O'Hare International Airport, Mulally says, are not going to Chicago. His point is that a snapshot of customers — moving targets — does not tell you where they are heading. Henry Ford, according to Mulally, said that if, when he founded his company, he had asked potential customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. Mulally has bet the company on its ability to develop "curb appeal" products that people do not yet know they want and to develop them before the company, which burned through about $6 billion in the last two quarters of 2006, burns the rest of its borrowed cash.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.


© 2006 WPWG