NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co has enough liquidity to fund its restructuring plan and despite the deep downturn in auto sales still sees no need to ask for government loans, Chief Executive Alan Mulally said on Saturday.
“We don’t want to borrow any more money. We have sufficient liquidity to fund our transformation plan, which means our business is in a relatively good shape,” Mulally told reporters on the sidelines of the National Automobile Dealers Association convention.
Ford’s U.S. rivals, General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC, won approval in December for $17.4 billion of government loans to avert collapse. Ford has asked for access to a $9 billion credit line from the U.S. government but has not sought loans. Washington has not yet responded to Ford’s request.
Mulally said Ford was in a better situation than its rivals because it borrowed more than $23 billion in 2006, using most of the company’s assets as security, including its well-known blue oval logo.
Mulally said U.S. industry-wide sales in January had been similar to those in December, when they fell about 36 percent from a year earlier to 10.3 million units on an annualized basis.
Ford expects an economic stimulus package being pushed by new President Barack Obama to drive a recovery in auto sales starting in the second half and maintains its forecast of U.S. auto sales at 12 million to 12.5 million units, he added.
The forecast represents the high end of prevailing expectations. Analysts have forecast U.S. sales in a range between 10.1 million and 12.5 million units for 2009.
“Right now, I think with everything planned in the fiscal and monetary policy, I am very comfortable that we are going to start to turn things around through the second half of the year,” Mulally said.
Editing by Peter Cooney