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CNBC TRANSCRIPT: FORD CEO ALAN MULALLY ON CNBC’S “MAD MONEY W/JIM CRAMER” TONIGHT

Alan Mulally
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images
Alan Mulally

WHEN: TONIGHT, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2011 at 6 & 11PM ET

WHERE: CNBC’S “MAD MONEY W/JIM CRAMER”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ford CEO Alan Mulally on CNBC’s “Mad Money w/Jim Cramer” tonight.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

JIM CRAMER, host: Mr. Mulally, it is a privilege and a pleasure to be here! Thank you so much, sir. Thank you.

Mr. ALAN MULALLY: Thank you, Jim.

CRAMER: All right. Everyone wants to know--everyone in the country wants to know, if you had one bit of advice about what caused the resurgence, about what you did, what would it be? Help others with what you did. Serve others with what you've done here.

Mr. MULALLY: Well, Jim, first of all, we're so glad you're here at Ford Motor Company. We're going to take care of all of your automobile needs. I think--to answer your question, I think the most important thing is that we pulled together around a compelling vision of making the best cars and trucks in the world, which was Henry's original vision, and also make them affordable for all of us. Then we went--we pulled together around a very comprehensive strategy, around focus on the Ford brand, having a full family of vehicles that would be best in class, and also using all of our capability throughout the world. But probably the most important thing is that we pulled together, and we chose we're going to work together to create an exciting, viable, profitably growing company for all of us, and there's your team right here.

CRAMER: OK. We're MAD MONEY, though. We're Cramer.

Mr. MULALLY: Definitely.

CRAMER: So I've got to say, even though the stock has increased 1,353 percent from the bottom, if it's pie in the sky that I think all those great things you talk about--one Ford, the platforms, the streamline, giving excitement to American people, to worldwide for cars--is it possible--not if it's…but is it possible, $5 a share in 2013 and taking 19 percent share in the country. If--are those things that you--even are in the orbit, the right orbit?

Mr. MULALLY: Well, now, of course, the investors will decide the value of Ford. But what we're going to do is continue what we've done, and that is to profitably grow the company year after year. And we've put in place a great product plan, we got a great production system for continually improving that system, and as we gave guidance recently that our profitability in 2011 is going to be greater than 2010. And our positive free cash flow, and we're going to start keep moving back to investment grade, so I think that I really, really like that Ford plan going forward.

CRAMER: All right. Well, I hope that my Ford plan is--dovetails with your Ford plan. Can you--when you sit back and you try to figure out what really drives earnings per share for the shareholders, because I know you've got all these great constituencies, profitability for all, would it be--and a little bit of a multiple choice--state of the economy and how many cars can be sold, your credit rating, how much money you make on cars, US vs. the rest of the world, or new buyers because of technology, because of quality, because of improvement, and because of it's a second home, your Ford's a second home.

Mr. MULALLY: Well, absolutely. And I think you really captured some key elements. First of all, in the United States, we see that the economy gradually expanding. We think maybe for this year it could be as high as 3 1/2 percent on GDP growth. Also, from the industry point of view, we're seeing somewhere between 12 1/2 and 13 1/2 million, which is a very good growth rate in the United States. And I think that everybody that's focused on fiscal and monetary policy to keep us going is great. And of course in Ford's case, with our--we invested during the toughest of times. We probably had the finest complete family of best in class vehicles, so we're here to support the customers as it recovers. So based on the strength of our products, a gradually improving economy and a--and a pent-up demand for vehicles--the average age of vehicles is over 10 years now--I mean, we have the solutions that people want with the Ford Motor Company.

CRAMER: Oh, let's talk about competitor. All right, General Motors, I thought for a long time that it was--that you had the advantage because you didn't take the government money. The new GM, no-strike clause; the new GM, now well-capitalized; the new GM comes public. Is this GM better off than you thought you--they would be a year ago?

Mr. MULALLY: Well, we take all of our competitors very seriously, and as you have well documented, we actually, during this worst recession that we've ever been through, we actually testified on behalf of GM and Chrysler...

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. MULALLY: ...that the government would help them temporarily because—for the good of the US industry, and to not have us go from a recession into a depression. So we take our competitors very seriously. But we're focused on our customers, that full family, best in class. And the customers will decide, you know, who's going to be successful going forward.

CRAMER: Let me follow up on the credit rating, what I think is important for the credit rating, which will drive the stock because it drives earnings, and also about the GM no-strike issue. When you're making a lot of money, I've been a member of the union, OK? I'm a member of two unions. When I saw the boss--the man, so to speak--making a lot of money--my younger days, had a lot of hair--I often thought, you know what? I want a bigger piece of the pie. How does everybody profit, including the shareholders, the people who build the cars, how does everybody profit and not one group try to get more than the other?

Mr. MULALLY: Absolutely. And a key element of our plan as we pulled together around a vision of profitably growing the company but for the good of all of us, profitable growth for all, which means that as we grow and we're successful, that we want to share that with all the participants. And we've included the--our customers themselves, the Ford store owners, all of our employees, our suppliers, the investors. Everybody needs to participate in profitable growth. And now we're growing. And you're talking about the—our arrangement with the UAW. I mean, we pulled together with a transformation agreement in 2007 that is now allowing us to be competitive with the best in the world. We're now converting truck plants to car plants and making cars in the United States and making them profitable, these fabulous--this fabulous team. So I think that the whole conversation has moved now to how do we continue to improve our competitiveness. And now we're adding jobs. You saw that we just announced we're going to add 7,000 jobs in the next three years.

CRAMER: …everybody likes.

Mr. MULALLY: Everybody, because it has to work for everybody. And when you're growing the company then it's going to work for everybody.

CRAMER: All right. Now, one of the things I know is that you could put plants anywhere. You could build anywhere. I am convinced--and one of the things that we try to do on MAD MONEY is remove the chip from the shoulder of Americans. Where are we as a manufacturing nation vs. the rest of the world? And you're everywhere, so you know where we stand.

Mr. MULALLY: Well, this is really important. And just one example. I'm just so pleased to be asked by the president to be on the Export Council and also the Manufacturing Council. Because it wasn't very many years ago, remember, Jim, that maybe manufacturing wasn't held in as high esteem as we have in the past.

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. MULALLY: And our argument is that what has made America great is technology, innovation, design and making things. And there's no reason that we can't compete with the best in the world, and especially public/private partnership, where we create a business environment where it makes sense to invest in America, and we're competitive on our taxes, on the education system, on the rules for trading worldwide. And I'm just so pleased now to be--to be growing in the United States. Of course, and the neat thing about Ford, Jim, is that Henry Ford's original vision was to operate in all the countries in which we serve.

CRAMER: Right.

Mr. MULALLY: So he didn't want to extract wealth from somebody else and bring it. This is not a zero sum game.

CRAMER: No.

Mr. MULALLY: He wanted to create value for everybody around the world, starting with the United States. So I think that the focus we have on competitiveness now is the most important thing that we're doing to contribute to not only growing the economy but also the energy independence and security and also environmental sustainability. And Ford is part of the solution.

CRAMER: All right. One last question, because I know I have a lot of people who watch sports and follow sports who watch this show. If you were a coach, which I think you are, are you Lombardi, are you John Wooden, are you Rex Ryan, are you Belichick? One that I left out, perhaps?

Mr. MULALLY: Well, I think it's probably a wonderful blend of all of them.

CRAMER: Oh, man, what a statesman! You're too much of a statesman!

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor.

Mr. MULALLY: Jim, I have something on behalf of--if you can--if you can get a little picture of it--for all of the employees at Ford...

CRAMER: Saw that on your office wall.

Mr. MULALLY: And it's on my office wall. And on January 24th, Jim, of 1925, Henry Ford took an ad out in the Saturday Evening Post, and he laid out the vision for Ford. He--Ford is wildly successful, they have 56 percent market share worldwide. He's changed the world. And he talks about opening the highways to all mankind. And at the time, only the wealthy could own a car.

CRAMER: Right, right.

Mr. MULALLY: And he wanted to make the best cars and trucks in the world but make it available to all of us. And in the end of it, he says it's not about what he's done but it's with the sincere and sober realization of new and larger opportunities for service to all mankind. And I propose to you the team you see here today, we are so pleased and proud to be accelerating Henry Ford's original vision.

CRAMER: Alan Mulally, thank you so much.

Mr. MULALLY: Thank you.

CRAMER: Thank you for having me to your great company. So appreciate it.

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