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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: CNBC's Phil LeBeau Speaks with Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford Today

WHEN: TODAY, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH

WHERE: CNBC'S "SQUAWK BOX"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford today. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000308828.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

PHIL LEBEAU: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, BECKY. I'M JOINED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY, BILL FORD ON A BIG DAY HERE IN DETROIT. WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT IN A LITTLE BIT. A BIG DAY WITH FORD, A NOTE COMING OUT FROM MORGAN STANLEY. BUT LETS START FIRST OFF, ABOUT WHY WE ARE HERE. THE ITS CONFERENCE. CONNECTIVITY, THE FUTURE OF AUTONOMOUS-DRIVE VEHICLES. ARE YOU A LITTLE BIT CONCERNED THAT WE MIGHT BE GETTING AHEAD OF OURSELVES EXPECTING DRIVERLESS CARS JUST AROUND THE CORNER?

BILL FORD: YEAH, I MEAN, TO BE JUST AROUND THE CORNER. BUT I THINK WHAT YOU WILL SEE IS THAT A LOT OF THE TECHNOLOGY THAT ENABLES DRIVERLESS DRIVING WILL START TO COME IN TO THE VEHICLES VERY SOON. SO, BY THE TIME WE ACTUALLY GET TO FULL AUTONOMY, IT WILL KIND OF BE A NON-EVENT. BECAUSE A LOT OF THE STUFF YOU WILL SEE GOING IN WHETHER IT IS PARK ASSIST, OR LANE KEEPING, OR GRABBING CONTROL OF YOUR BRAKES DURING AN ACCIDENT-TYPE SITUATION, LOTS OF THAT TECHNOLOGY IS ALREADY STARTING TO GO INTO THE VEHICLES.

LEBEAU: SO WITHIN THE NEXT FEW YEARS, IS IT REALISTIC TO EXPECT, AT LEAST WITH HIGHWAY DRIVING, WHERE IT IS A LITTLE EASIER FOR THE ALGORITHMS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE VEHICLES ARE EXPECTED TO DO, WE SHOULD SEE THAT WITHIN TWO TO THREE YEARS AT LEAST ON THE HIGHWAY LEVEL?

FORD: YEAH YOU WILL, BUT YOU WILL ALSO HAVE DRIVER IN CONTROL AND I THINK – AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE TRUE FOR SOME TIME. AND YOU KNOW RIGHT NOW, WE THINK IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT, AUTONOMOUS DRIVING WORKS. UNCONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS, STILL NEEDS MORE WORK.

LEBEAU: WHICH BRINGS UP THE QUESTION. IS THE DRIVER READY FOR IT? IS SOCIETY READY FOR IT? ARE THE REGULATORS READY FOR IT? BECAUSE WE TALKED TO ANTHONY FOXX YESTERDAY, THE TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY AND GOES, "OH YEAH, WE ARE GOING TO BE READY TO WORK WITH THE INDUSTRY." AND A LOT OF PEOPLE I TALK WITH, WHETHER IT IS ON WALL STREET OR ELSEWHERE SAY, "WE ARE NOT CONVINCED."

FORD: WELL, I THINK WE ARE NOT READY TODAY, CERTAINLY. BUT I THINK IT WILL BE AN EVOLUTION. AND SO AS A LOT OF THIS TECHNOLOGY STARTS GOING IN TO VEHICLES, PEOPLE WILL GET MORE COMFORTABLE WITH IT. AND SO BY THE TIME THAT IT HAPPENS, I THINK WE WILL BE READY. BUT YOU KNOW, ONE THING I THINK REALLY NEEDS TO BE SAID IS THAT TECHNOLOGY, FOR TECHNOLOGY'S SAKE, MAKES NO SENSE. IF IT ISN'T MAKING PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER, EASIER, SAVING THEM TIME, SAVING THEM MONEY, THEN IT PROBABLY SHOULDN'T GO IN TO THE VEHICLE.

LEBEAU: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE NOTE THAT CAME OUT THIS MORNING. MORGAN STANLEY OUT DOWNGRADING THE FORD STOCK TO UNDERWEIGHT. ESSENTIALLY SAYING, "LOOK, WE ARE WORRIED THAT NORTH AMERICAN PROFITABILITY IS GOING TO BE UNDER PRESSURE BECAUSE THE AUTO CYCLE HAS HIT ITS PEAK AND THERE IS GOING TO BE A CHANGE OVER TO THE ALUMINUM F SERIES, AND THAT IS GOING TO BE A ROUGH TRANSITION POTENTIALLY."

FORD: WELL SEE, THEREIN LIES AN OPPORTUNITY IS HOW I SEE IT BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF NEW LAUNCHES COMING, A LOT OF GREAT PRODUCTS. WE THINK THEY WILL DO VERY WELL IN THE MARKETPLACE. SO, YOU KNOW, I ACTUALLY FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT OUR FUTURE. I THINK THAT THE F-150 THAT THE LAUNCH IS UNDERWAY. SO FAR IT IS GOING VERY WELL. WE ARE VERY COMFORTABLE WITH WHERE WE ARE.

LEBEAU: WHAT ABOUT NORTH AMERICAN PROFITABILITY? NOT JUST FOR FORD, BUT FOR THIS INDUSTRY. ARE WE AT A PEAK OR DO YOU LOOK AT THIS AND SAY, "I THINK WE'VE GOT SOME ROOM TO GO HERE."?

FORD: WELL I DO THINK WE HAVE SOME ROOM TO GO, BUT I THINK IT IS A QUESTION OF WHAT YOU MEAN BY ROOM TO GO. WE ARE RUNNING PRETTY GOOD VOLUMES RIGHT NOW. MARGINS CAN ALWAYS GO UP, AND AS I SAY, AS WE LAUNCH NEW PRODUCTS, WE THINK THEY ARE GOING TO DO REALLY WELL IN THE MARKETPLACE. SO, WHETHER IT IS MARGIN OR MARKET SHARE, WE FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT WHERE WE ARE. YOU KNOW, THAT IS ONE OPINION. BUT YOU KNOW, THE LAUNCH OF THE F-150, I MEAN, IT IS A BIG DEAL FOR US. BUT AS THEY SAY, SO FAR SO GOOD.

LEBEAU: WE'VE GOT AN INCREASING NUMBER OF CONSUMERS IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE TAKING OUT SIX AND A HALF, SEVEN YEAR LOANS IN ORDER TO BUY A NEW VEHICLE. DOES THAT WORRY YOU WHEN YOU HEAR THAT PEOPLE ARE TAKING OUT SEVEN YEAR LOANS?

FORD: YEAH, I THINK WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A SITUATION LIKE WE DID BEFORE WHERE CONSUMERS ARE OVEREXTENDED, AND YOU KNOW, THAT DOESN'T DO ANYBODY ANY GOOD. AND WE HAVE BEEN RELATIVELY CONSERVATIVE AND FORWARD ABOUT THOSE TYPES OF THINGS. BUT YOU KNOW, THE UNDERLYING STRENGTH OF THE MARKET THOUGH, IS STILL VERY GOOD.

LEBEAU: LETS TALK ABOUT MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY AND LINCOLN. THOSE ARE PRETTY COOL ADS.

FORD: YEAH. YOU LIKED THEM?

LEBEAU: I DO LIKE THEM AND YOU KNOW, JOE WAS JUST SAYING EARLIER, HE'S GOT A LITTLE BIT OF 'TRUE DETECTIVE' LOOK TO HIM AS HE IS DRIVING AROUND IN THE LINCOLN.

FORD: WELL, HE DOES AND YOU KNOW, I THINK HE CERTAINLY PROJECTS AN AIR OF AUTHENTICITY AND A LITTLE BIT OF EDGINESS.

LEBEAU: CERTAINLY WHAT THE LINCOLN BRAND NEEDS.

FORD: YEAH, EXACTLY.

LEBEAU: FINALLY, BIG DAY TODAY. YOU'VE GOT THE SEASON OPENER FOR THE LIONS AT HOME, MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL AGAINST THE GIANTS. YOU KNOW, I'VE GOT A BUNCH OF NEW YORKERS I HAVE TO WORK WITH. SO, ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY TO THEM?

FORD: YEAH, I WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE GAME AND I HOPE YOU GO TO BED CRYING TONIGHT.

LEBEAU: THERE YOU GUYS GO. THERE YOU GO. OH, THE PRODUCER IS SAYING TO WRAP. HE DOESN'T LIKE THAT. HE DOESN'T LIKE THAT AT ALL. GUYS, WE WILL SEND IT BACK TO YOU.

JOE KERNEN: PHIL, TELL BILL, YOU KNOW, THE BILL MURRAY MOVIE "LOST IN TRANSLATION," HE GOES TO JAPAN TO SELL BOOZE. THAT'S WHAT BIG STARS NORMALLY DO. TO AGREE TO THAT, I JUST THINK IT IS VERY COOL THAT MCCONAUGHEY AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS CAREER DECIDED TO DO A LINCOLN COMMERCIAL.

LEBEAU: THEY WANTED TO LET ME PASS ALONG TO YOU THEY THINK IT'S COOL THAT MCCONAUGHEY AT THE HEIGHT OF HIS STARDOM IS NOT GOING OVERSEAS TO SELL A PRODUCT. HE'S DOING IT HERE IN THE U.S.

FORD: YOU KNOW, IT IS COOL. AND YOU KNOW, AS I SAY, I THINK IT'S UNEXPECTED. AND PEOPLE, I THINK, ARE RESPONDING TO IT.

KERNEN: I WAS SHOCKED. YEAH.

LEBEAU: THERE YOU GO. HEY, GUYS, BACK TO YOU. THE MAN'S GOT TO GET READY FOR A FOOTBALL GAME TONIGHT.

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