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Mulally will accept $1, and more

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No source was posted, so I just linked to the article at BON. Also, some interesting info about upcoming hybrids / plug-in electric vehicles from Ford.

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Alan Mulally plans to tell Congress he is accelerating the company's development of hybrid and electric vehicles and is willing to cut his salary to $1 a year as part of a renewed push to win a federal bailout of the Big Three auto makers.

The efforts will be outlined in a recovery plan Ford is scheduled to deliver to Congress on Tuesday. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC also are set to present plans of their own.

GM's presentation is expected to focus on efforts to lighten the company's heavy debt and consolidate or sell several of its eight automotive brands, people familiar with the matter said. Chrysler is likely to emphasize its need for cash to stabilize the company and eventually to join an alliance with one or more foreign auto makers, a person close to Chrysler said.

Executive compensation emerged as an issue when the Big Three CEOs asked Congress for financial help in November. In response to a question about taking a $1 salary in return for federal aid, Mr. Mulally said: "I think I'm OK where I am." The CEO has earned close to $50 million in total compensation since taking the helm of Ford in 2006. Chrysler's Robert Nardelli said he would accept that pay condition, while GM's Rick Wagoner demurred.

Mr. Mulally's response unnerved William C. Ford Jr., the company's chairman, and some other members of the board, according to people familiar with the matter.

In another symbolic move, Mr. Mulally plans to drive by car to Washington. He and the GM and Chrysler chiefs were criticized by Congress for arriving by private jet last month to seek a taxpayer bailout. Mr. Wagoner is considering doing the same in one of GM's hybrid models, a person familiar with the matter said. A GM spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Wagoner's travel plans. Chrysler said Mr. Nardelli has also ruled out flying by private jet this time.

In an interview Monday, Mr. Mulally made it clear Ford's plan will rely on both substance and symbolism. He said Ford will explain to Congress it is rushing to launch new hybrids and electric vehicles by 2011, including battery-powered commercial van and compact sedan. A plug-in electric vehicle that can be recharged from a standard electrical outlet should follow in 2012, he said.

GM, Ford and Chrysler are seeking the loans to help their companies weather the deep decline in auto sales and slowdown in the U.S. economy. But many lawmakers were unconvinced by the CEOs' testimony last month that the Big Three could become viable and told the companies to submit detailed plans by Dec. 2 showing how they would use the money.

The three chief executives are expected to appear Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee and Friday before the House Financial Services Committee. If Democratic leaders decide to move forward with assistance, the full Congress could be called back to Washington next week.

Ford, like GM, will likely express a willingness to seek further cost-cuts and concessions from the United Auto Workers union, the person familiar with Ford's plans said. In a further downsizing, Ford said Monday it would weigh a sale of its Volvo unit.

Ford has argued it doesn't need the government loans at this time, but may if one of its competitors falls and takes down the interdependent network of auto manufacturers and their suppliers. The company is concerned about keeping a level playing field if any deal is reached.

If the UAW agrees to any wage or benefit concessions at GM or Chrysler, Ford will insist on a similar arrangement. The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker also has concerns about the payments it already made to a new health care trust for retired union workers. GM owes the fund $7.5 billion by 2010 -- an amount many suspect it cannot afford -- while Ford paid more than $4 billion on its similar obligation earlier this year.

For its part, GM plans to outline further cuts to North American production capacity and an initiative to offer debt-holders equity to boost its balance sheet, people familiar with the matter said. Other aspects of the plan include seeking more labor concessions and making executive pay cuts, these people said. One of GM's goals is to show lawmakers it will make "sacrifices across the board," a person familiar with GM's presentation said.

The plan would also discuss reducing its brands and offer details on new fuel-efficient vehicles and how the company plans to meet newly stringent federal mileage rules, people familiar with the matter said.

GM nameplates under consideration for consolidation or sale include Saturn, Saab and Pontiac, these people said. GM has also talked with Chinese auto maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., its partner in China, about the sale of at least a portion of Buick, they said. Buick is a major seller in China, and SAIC could gain access to the U.S. market through the Buick distribution network in the U.S.

SAIC is waiting for GM to solve its liquidity crisis through a government bailout, bankruptcy or some other method before proceeding on its interest in Buick, people close to the matter said.

GM has warned it could run out of cash by early next year without a capital infusion. Chrysler has also signaled a liquidity crisis. Ford has a somewhat stronger cash position than its rivals, but worries about the ripple effect should other auto makers fail.


Edited by mustang84
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Go Ford!

I still think it's retarded that they don't make teh CEO of Citigroup take a paycut since he's made over 200 million so far this year, but whatever.

Ford seems to be willing to do what it takes to survive and recover, GM not so much. I don't think Chrysler's proposal to form an "alliance" (be sold off) with a foreign automaker will go over so well.

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