An Interview With Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company (F)

The Motley Fool recently sat down with Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) Company for a quick chat that touched on several important topics. In the video below, we discuss Ford’s strategy in China, how it views Japanese competitors and the weak yen, how Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) looks at Tesla and the future of the electric vehicle, and a few other topics.

A full transcript follows the video.

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Brendan Byrnes: Hey, Fools. I’m Brendan Byrnes, and I’m joined today by Alan Mulally, who is, of course, the CEO of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). Thank you so much for your time.

Alan Mulally: Glad to see you.

Brendan: So, I wanted to ask you first about Tesla, which has obviously had a nice run over the past four months or so, and some people are wondering, “Is the electric vehicle the vehicle of the future?” What are Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s thoughts on that, and how do you see this space evolving over the next decade or so?

Alan: Well, clearly, Tesla has done a very good job with a luxury version of the all-electric vehicle, and, of course, in Ford’s case, we really do believe that we’ll see more electrification going forward.

In our case, especially on the vehicles that go to large numbers of people, we see, first of all, the penetration for hybrid electric vehicles, then plug in hybrids, and then all electric vehicles, but the most economical fuel-efficiency benefit is with the hybrids today.

Brendan: I wanted to ask you about Toyota cutting prices on the Camry. Have you seen any impact on that on the Fusion? Going forward I know you’re kind of constrained by production, and, kind of a related question, on the weak yen, can you see any progress on that and do you anticipate anything happening with that?

Alan: Well, clearly, everybody is concerned about currency manipulation, especially the yen, because we believe, and most everybody, that the market should set the currency rates.

We haven’t seen manifestations of that yet in the United States in a big way, but clearly we’re concerned, because a number of our Japanese competitors, their leadership has mentioned that they want to take advantage of this currency manipulation, so I’m just very pleased that the government leaders around the world are addressing this as part of the Free Trade Agreement, as you know, because it is just so important that we let the markets set the currencies.

Brendan: I wanted to ask you about China also, and the mix that we have there: small cars, it’s mostly small cars being sold there right now, especially in the less affluent areas. How does Ford view that with your plant in Chongqing, and how do you see that playing out with the areas that have more affluence on the coast versus in the inland, which is a little bit less affluent. How do you see that mix and how does it affect your margins?

Alan: Oh, well, absolutely. Well, clearly, our plan around the world, Ford’s plan is to offer our customers in every market segment around the world a complete family of vehicles, so small, and medium, and large; and cars, utilities, and trucks; all the way from the Fiesta all the way up, of course, to the popular F series.