Ford, VW pick different paths to survival

A decade ago, Ford Motor Co. was busy adding Volvo and Land Rover to a stable of brands that featured Mazda, Jaguar and Aston Martin as well as Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. Soon, Mercury will be gone. Only Ford and Lincoln will be left.

We asked North American boss Mark Fields yesterday how Ford could have been so sure about a strategy then only to reject it now.

"Focus," he said, sidestepping, "is a wonderful thing."

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is snapping up everything in sight in a bid to become the world's largest automaker before this decade is up. Next question for Fields, a 21-year Ford veteran: How could two of the world's biggest car companies choose such sharply different routes to survival?

He wouldn't comment on a competitor's strategy. He didn't have to: His smile spoke volumes.