Ford CEO Alan Mulally had a few intriguing things to say during his talk at the Great Louisville Inc. annual dinner last month.
Speaking in front of more than 1,600 people of the next-generation Ford Escape, which will be built at Ford’s Louisville facilities, Mulally stated that “this will be not only the best quality vehicle but the very best value. And right here is the center of excellence in Louisville, KY.”
Mulally continued by saying that “This new Escape… The next version of this is going to change the world. You saw the concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It is really close to the new Escape.”
As part of Mulally’s One Ford initiative, the American-market Escape will join Ford’s European-market Kuga — becoming among the latest all-new global vehicles from The Blue Oval and joining the all-new Focus and Fiesta. The new CUV was recently spotted wearing an abundant amount of body camouflage as it was undergoing testing.
Moreover, Ford’s $600 million investment in the Louisville Assembly Plant will result in the production of multiple models based on The Blue Oval’s global C architecture, including a compact crossover for Lincoln to compete with the likes of the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK. “We are going to make more than 2 million of these Escapes worldwide. We will also make 10 different variations of this platform — wagons, small SUVs, hybrids, plug-in hybrids,” Mulally added.
The admired CEO, whose 2010 compensation is currently a point of contention in the never-ending debate of executive pay, also took a few questions from the audience. When asked to explain the keys to reviving U.S. competitiveness, Mulally simply stated that “you have got to decide that manufacturing is important. I am just so pleased that the pendulum is swinging back in that direction.”
He also had a few words to say about what the U.S. needs to in order to encourage energy independence, including competing “with the best in the world.”
“Everybody around the world is starting to grow their economy and they all want to base their economies on engineering and manufacturing.”
Ford recently announced plans to invest a total of $900 million to upgrade its two Louisville plants — including the Louisville Assembly Plant along with Kentucky Truck. In exchange for The Blue Oval’s investment, the state and local governments will provide tax breaks worth $240 million. Ford suppliers and vendors employ approximately 8,000 people in the region today.