From the agenda Mulally has proferred, it looks to me like another in a long line of "help us compete" rhetoric that emanates from Detroit with every administration. (Its the same because none of these guys have had an original idea since about the time of Lee Iacocca.)
Mr. Mulally, look no further than the reflection in the mirror to see what's wrong with the American auto industy.
Didn't think so...
And while you're hoping to get the Chinese to change their currency policy (good luck with that...keep me posted, huh?) and create teriffs against the cheap cars that are the only ones a Wal-Mart worker* can afford, why don't you think of these few things:
1. What is the best DESIGN institute in America? You know, the Harvard Business School or Yale Law School of industrial design in the United States?
Can't think of it?
No surprise there. All you CEO's pay more attention to your investemnt bankers and your lawyers than you do your products. Any wonder, then, that the world turns elsewhere for the finest products?
Because you guys dropped the ball!
2. How much have you changed Henry Ford's basic assembly mine model since he started the company? I mean, really, honestly CHANGED it? (Where are we now...a little over 100 years since Henry came up with the original thought?)
Have ANY of you auto executives done ANYTHING since Henry Ford to actually CHANGE that model? (I mean, besides firing working guys, replacing them with robots, and hiring people who will work for less money?)
Surprise surprise. Again, the answer is "Hell NO!"
Because you guys dropped the ball!
Did it EVER occur to you that maybe, just maybe, Henry Ford's model of "batch building" of automobile inventory is OBSOLETE? (And has been for, like, 30 YEARS????)
Ever thought that maybe, just maybe, American consumers would want their cars BUILT TO ORDER? Like a Dell Computer? Ever thought about what that would do to your capital requirements and your cash flow? Ever thought about how much that would REVOLUTIONIZE the American auto industry....cutting costs, improving productivity, avoiding layoffs and realizing efficiencies so that American cars would be FAR CHEAPER than foreign cars? That you would be able to spin-off most of your operating divisions to your shareholders, allowing THEM to realize tremendous value while, at the same time, maintaining a world-class "just on time" manufacturing operation?
THAT YOU COULD TURN AMERICAN AUTOMOBILES AND PARTS INTO A COMMODITY SOLD AROUND THE WORLD AT PRICES SO CHEAP WITH QUALITY SO GOOD THAT YOU WOULD DRIVE THE JAPANESE, THE KOREANS, AND THE GERMANS COMPLETELY OUT OF THE INDUSTRY????
Ah...but making REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE, the kind of change that's necessary to save your sorry overpaid ass in a dying industy...well, you're not a revolutionary, are you?
You're kind of a go-along, get-along guy.
Which is how all you guys in Detroit are and how you all got to the top at some very poorly run companies.
Being "COMPETITIVE" means WINNING by distinguished performance. But you guys -- all you MBA's and whatever -- you don't DISTINGUISH yourselves or your companies....you just do things the way they've been done for 100 years.
You just make sure you get paid better for it than your great-grandfather was.
Meanwhile, you drive the American automobile industry -- and industry America practically STARTED -- offshore while you beg the president to subsidize your sorry ass.
* Wal-Mart Worker - Found primarily in the Northern Middle West section of the United States, a highly skilled, extremely reliable species formerly known as a "lathe operator" or "foundry worker". Typically known to have paid taxes, served in the armed forces, engaged in longstanding monogmous relationships with a female of the same species. Usually producing a "family" of four children that "lathe operator" proudly sent off to college that he mostly paid for. Formerly earned $30/hr. at Ford Motor Company. Metamorphosis into "Wal-Mart Worker" seems to occur upon the onset of middle-age when "lathe operator" and "foundy workers" travel to Mexico for several weeks and engage in apparent transfer of skills and expertise to native Mexican species. Metamorphosized "Wal-Mart worker" emerges from habitat after several months after he returns from Mexico during a period of dormancy called "unemployment". Species is usually found in a red vest showing teeth at other North American species and saying, "Welcome to Wal-Mart". Species appears to be less vigorous in metamorphosized state.