CNBC ORIGINAL GOES INSIDE THE ASTONISHING COMEBACK OF AN AMERICAN ICON
One-Hour Documentary Reported by CNBC’s Phil LeBeau to Premiere on CNBC on Wednesday, November 10th at 9PM ET/PT
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., November 1, 2010— On Wednesday, November 10th at 9PM ET/PT, CNBC presents “Ford: Rebuilding An American Icon,” a CNBC original that takes viewers on an inside ride through one of the most remarkable and harrowing comebacks in business history. With the automaker’s full cooperation, correspondent Phil LeBeau spent months behind the scenes at Ford to tell the story of its astounding turnaround just a few short years after nearly collapsing. The documentary profiles Ford’s tireless and steel-nerved CEO, Alan Mulally, who took the reins in 2006 when Ford was in a nosedive, having lost $17 billion in that year alone. In a breathtaking gamble to raise the money Ford would need to finance its turnaround, Mulally mortgaged nearly every asset the company owned—even the signature blue Ford logo. Yet unlike its rivals, General Motors and Chrysler, who staggered into Washington for taxpayer-funded lifelines, Ford saved itself without a dime of government bailout money. CNBC takes viewers inside the Thunderbird Room—the top-secret command center where Ford leadership orchestrated the comeback and from which they still manage the company today.
The program takes advantage of the remarkable access to the company’s inner-workings, introducing viewers to an unlikely pair of engineers charged with breathing new life into a legendary but tarnished Ford nameplate, the Explorer. Once the top-selling SUV in America, the Explorer is now a distant third to the Honda Pilot and Kia Sorento, having weathered a devastating scandal involving defective tires, and then being pummeled by skyrocketing fuel prices that eroded the public’s appetite for SUV’s. CNBC travels with Ford as it unveils the new and improved Explorer—one of its largest and most critical product launches in the company’s history.
CNBC also looks at Ford’s efforts to bring cutting edge technologies into the driver’s seat. Ford’s new features allow drivers to use voice commands and steering wheel controls to operate a variety of communication and entertainment devices such as phones, iPods, and navigation systems. Ford says these programs are designed to keep a driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, but some critics—including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood —believe they are hazardous distractions. In his interview with LeBeau, Secretary LaHood goes so far as to advocate an outright ban of cell phones from cars.
CNBC cameras also travel to one of the frontlines of the brutally competitive global automotive industry, the rapidly expanding car market of South Asia. Ford’s toehold in India, where it is investing heavily, is small but tenacious, and the blue Ford oval is becoming increasingly commonplace on the crowded and exotic streets of the world’s fastest growing auto market.
And, CNBC also profiles the Ford family, which unlike many other famous American business dynasties, has never given up its hold on its company, despite an unfortunate and well-established knack for turning boom into bust.
For more information including web extras and extended video clips, log onto rebuildingford.cnbc.com.
Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer of CNBC’s “Ford: Rebuilding An American Icon.” Wally Griffith is the Senior Producer. Michael Joseloff is the Producer. Ray Borelli is the Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.
CNBC’s “Ford: Rebuilding An American Icon” will re-air on Wednesday, November 10th at 10PM ET/PT and Sunday, November 14th at 10PM ET.
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