Ford's Mulally to Stick Around Few More Years; Explorer Road Show On

By Michelle Krebs July 26, 2010

Alan Mulally, who turns 65 on Aug. 4, says he'll stick around as Ford CEO for "a few more Ford Explorer launch Mike Rowe and Alan Mulally - 252.JPGyears."

Mulally made the comments in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show Monday. Mulally is in New York for the public unveiling of the 2011 Ford Explorer.

Mulally joins Ford spokesman Mike Rowe, the host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," at Herald Square, which Ford has converted into an off-road course to display the Explorer.

Other Ford executives are fanning out across the country for local unveilings of the revamped SUV. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields will host the Venice Beach, Calif., debut and will drop by Edmunds.com's Santa Monica, Calif., offices.

Ford Glass House with Explorer banner - 270.JPGAbout 1,000 employees and dealers will gather at the Dearborn, Mich., world headquarters, which is draped with a giant Explorer banner, for the reveal, hosted by Ford Group Vice President of Product Development Derrick Kuzak and Ford CFO Lewis Booth.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford is scheduled to be in Chicago where the Explorer is produced. 

In addition to the executive fan-out and live events, Ford is making the most massive use of social media, building on what it did so successfully with the Ford Fiesta.

For weeks, the Ford Explorer fan page on Facebook has displayed sneak peek photos and information on the new SUV. Videos have featured a range of people from Rowe to Explorer buyers in interviews.

On Monday, the page features live coverage of the event and a full-day of scheduled interviews with people involved with the Explorer, taking it to levels well beyond what Ford did with the Fiesta.

Ford enjoyed tremendous success with establishing the Fiesta name -- new to the U.S. market -- and generating buzz about the small car that went on sale in June with minimal cost. Ford marketing chief Jim Farley told AutoObserver the automaker spent 10 cents on the dollar by promoting the Fiesta on social media in the pre-launch phase.

Slow Recovery

In addition to commenting on his status with the automaker, Mulally told the Today show that  was "cautiously optimistic" that it would continue to grow as the U.S. economy recovers and he didn't anticipate a double dip recession.

"This is a slower recovery from the previous recessions," Mulally acknowledged. "I think with the monetary and the fiscal policy, and everybody's attention on growing the economy ... I think that we're going to have good, steady growth here."

Mulally said Ford looks forward to the day it can add jobs, but that will be based on how well the economy recovers.

1 - Ford CEO Alan Mulally (right) chats with Ford spokesman Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," as they rehearse Sunday night for the New York City reveal of the 2011 Ford Explorer, in the background covered.

2 - The Explorer banner was being hung from Ford's "Glass House" world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., on Sunday, in preparation for the 1,000 employees and dealers expected to be on site for the Explorer unveiling. 

 

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