Monday, April 02, 2012

A Ford in Our Future?

We’re hoping a family chariot replacement is still down the road a bit, but beautiful wife Sandy and I have been checking out new cars in a preliminary way.  We love our aging Pontiac, but it won’t last forever.

I’ve been leaning toward a Ford as a replacement for several reasons: (1) Ford has been producing high-quality vehicles in recent years; (2) Ford has several models that fit most of our needs; (3) Ford deserves a little edge for having good management in troubled times (it didn’t need government loans to survive the Great Recession); and (4) Ford is an American company.  Even if some parts and models are produced elsewhere, a good share of the corporate profits comes back to Michigan, and right where cash is most needed within the state.

I quit leaning Ford’s way Saturday.  The news from Detroit was that Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s compensation last year totaled a breathtaking $29.5 million.  That was up 11 percent from the year before.  That amounted to $5 for every vehicle Ford sold.

I believe that people who do exceptional work should be rewarded for it.  Mulally has done exceptional work.  Ford registered good profits for three consecutive years after he took over.  Stock prices soared.  It appears that Ford’s strategies under Mulally will carry the corporation forward for some time to come.

BUT, who on this earth is worth nearly $30 million for one year’s work?  Mulally is correct in saying much of his pay depends on performance bonuses.  He does earn his pay.  The problem is that his base pay is outrageously high and the bonuses ridiculously generous.  This is the kind of stuff that the “99 percent” is up in arms about.  This sort of tremendous gulf between the ultra rich and everyone else is not good for our society.

I have some issues with the “99 percent,” including that they represent a much lower percentage of Americans than their slogan implies.  BUT, if a lot of them think Mulally and other corporate execs are grossly overpaid, we are in agreement on that point.

Now I’m leaning toward a Prius.  If Mulally is in serious financial straits when we are ready to buy one, I’ll send him $5.


schmidleysscribblins, said...

Wow, I agree with you. I don't understand how these guys live with themselves. No one is worth that kind of money, but with shareholders virtually powerless to stop it, these outrageous bonuses will continue. Here's yet another good reason to tax them and get rid of the tax loopholes that let them end up in tax brackets well below those of their workers. Dianne

Sightings said...

I couldn't agree more. And schmidleysscribbins put her finger on the problem -- basically, the ceo appoints the board of directors and controls the board, leaving shareholders virtually powerless.

Btw, B has a Ford Freestyle and it's been a pretty good car. I looked at a Ford Fusion the last time I bought a car and thought it was pretty good, but went with an Acura instead -- my first Honda car. So far, I love it.

I've considered the Prius. But when I test drove it, I could see out the back window.

Sightings said...

... oops, I mean couldn't see out the back window.

joared said...

You've pinpointed the problem with management payments. Expect the ratio of exec. wages to regular employees is excessive also.

Never had a Ford. Always owned Chrysler products when I was single, then GM after I wed -- until a few years ago when the American auto industry ignored the need for vehicles with better gas mileage. Bought my first ever foreign make -- Toyota. I wanted a Prius before they became popular, but it was too uncomfortable for my husband, though he still had his Olds station wagon. So we got a larger
Toyota which I'll likely be driving 'til the end of my life.

Hope you find just the car you and wife want.

JHawk23 said...

True, CEO benefits are much out of whack in the US, for reasons others have already stated. As a car buyer, I feel that Ford and GM stockholders ought to be far more concerned about that than I am. But I think you're better off anyway, setting your sights on a different make.
When I came out of the Army in '72 I set off to buy my first new car -- tried quite a few of them, domestic and foreign, but I recall the one final straw that turned my camel's back to the foreign makes was my test drive of a Mercury when I jumped in and the gear shift came off in my hand. Since then it's been foreign makes; when I rent, I always get an American car and those test drives haven't persuaded me the product is so much improved that I should switch back. So I think US makers have a lot of ground to recover, although current products appear to be a great start.

Kay Dennison said...

I couldn't agree with you more.

I've never owned a brand new car in my life so I envy you the ability to afford one.

That said, my little Miss Ruby Begonia -- a 2000 Pontiac Sunfire -- is a good lil' old gal and I love her.

I'll be interested to see what you buy!!!!

Dick Klade said...

I got a rental Sunfire a few years back. It was a fun car to drive.