DEARBORN, Michigan — The Ford Motor Co., the only one of the Big Three not begging the federal government for an immediate handout, on Friday said it welcomes the action by the Bush administration to provide emergency relief for General Motors and Chrysler .
"All of us at Ford appreciate the prudent step the administration has taken to address the near-term liquidity issues of GM and Chrysler," said Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally in a statement. "The U.S. auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened U.S. economy."
In an appearance earlier this week on CNN's Larry King Live, Bill Ford, Jr., the company's executive chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford, said: "We're not asking for anything in this round."
"We would like a line of credit in case the economy completely implodes," he said. "We hope we never need it."
Ford has not applied for an immediate loan from the government but for a $9 billion line of credit that it could tap when needed. Such a line of credit would serve as a safety net, the automaker has said. The Dearborn automaker took a line of credit just before financing dried up. Administration officials noted on Friday that the White House announcement affects GM and Chrysler only, not Ford.
Ford told Congress in its comprehensive business plan that it plans aggressive restructuring actions and the debut of more fuel-efficient vehicles, including a broader range of hybrid-electric vehicles and the introduction of advanced plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles.
Inside Line says: Ford may be the only one of the domestic automakers viewed as pulling itself up by its own bootstraps when all the dust settles.