As I've spent the last eight months going inside Ford and shooting our CNBC Documentary Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon, I've heard one question over and over.
Can Ford build on its success or will it be back in the dump three or four years from now?
I have heard that question from auto workers in Detroit, investors in New York and even a few skeptics in Europe. Ford's track record is well established. Every time this company gets on a roll, it loses focus and ultimately loses a lot of money. To his credit, even Ford Chairman Bill Ford told me his company has a troubling tendency to lose its way.
So now, with Ford enjoying one of its most profitable years ever, can Ford do something it has rarely done: Can it stay on a roll?
I think it can, at least for the next few years.
Those of you who aren't buying Ford probably think I'm guilty of drinking the Mulally Kool Aid. But from my perspective, look at what Ford has going in its favor:
- A relatively fresh product line-up that should continue attracting buyers
- It has loads of room to grow sales (and profits) in China, India and Southeast Asia
- Its management team is as focused as any in the industry and Mulally is not going anywhere for at least a couple of years
That's not to say Ford is on Easy Street.