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Ford’s public relations image comes out on top for declining bailout

Photo by JLee20

Well, I was waiting for something like this to come along.

According to AdAge, Ford is leading the PR struggle that automakers are currently facing, by proposing an alternative plan that they will forgo any government aid through 2009 as long as possible.

After all, Chrysler’s decision to announce they were shutting down all operations for a month last week seemed, well, just too phony. The fact that President Bush stepped in straight away to “alleviate” the problem fell right into the trump-playing hands of Chrysler’s CEO Robert Nardelli.

Thank you Ford, for standing up and proving to the American people, the world, and your customers, that you can stand on your own two feet and come up with an alternative — let’s say innovative — plan of making a situation work in your favor.

And how? Well, we all remember the initial public relations disaster:

At first, it didn’t look so good for Ford. Alan Mulally made the same PR mistake as his fellow CEOs, GM’s Rick Wagoner and Chrysler’s Robert Nardelli, by flying in to Washington last month on a private jet to pitch Congress on a $25 billion bailout.

And who has a plan that makes the most sense to consumers? Ford:

But after being told to come back with a plan — and not a private jet — the next time around, Ford was first out of the gate with its proposed strategy. The automaker said it needed a $9 billion line of credit that it would only touch if the economy were to get dramatically worse and that it could make it through 2009 without any government aid.

Of course, it won’t be easy for Ford, but I respect them more than ever now, especially when compared to either GM or Chrysler at this point:

The tricky part for Ford now is to leverage this groundswell of reputation and consumer goodwill without looking opportunistic but still make sure it is on top of consumers’ shopping lists.

If all three auto makers were to take the money, I was going to swear off ever buying an American car again. Ford — you’re quickly changing my mind. Keep it up. My first car as a teenager was an old beat-up ’88 4-cylinder Mustang, but I was proud to drive it. Maybe someday I’ll be driving a Ford again.

Ford Picks Up PR Points for Declining Auto Bailout [AdAge]

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