As I stand outside Ford headquarters on a brutally cold day, I'm toying with how to make a play on words about Ford's 4Q earningsthat might be warming the hearts and portfolio's of its investors.
The fact is a 20 cent loss last quarter by Ford gives us more of what we've seen over the last year from CEO Alan Mulally. Ford's made huge strides cutting costs in North America--the one region of the world where it's losing money.
But with the U.S. auto market slowing down, Ford will have to work harder to make its goal of being profitable by next year. As a result, it's offering a new round of buyouts for hourly workers. Depending on how many take the deal, Ford will then hire new workers at a lower wage, to fill those jobs.
This is the slow process of unwinding decades of costs built up at automakers, but give Mulally credit, they are slowly, but steadily, getting there.
Today on "Power Lunch," I will be talking with Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and yes, he'll have his usual optimism. Given today's improved numbers, he has a right to feel upbeat. But make no mistake, Ford's turnaround in North America still has a ways to go.
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