AutoNation’s Mike Jackson gives Ford a thumbs up

When AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson talks, people listen.

Jackson visited Automotive News offices this week.

He tackled several hot topics. But during an hour and a half, just about each time he mentioned Ford Motor Co. or Ford CEO Alan Mulally a compliment followed.

When speaking about the industry’s attempts to revamp product mix and match inventory to demand, he said, “Ford’s probably the best at it at the moment, but they’ve been working on it for 3½ years.”

On using discipline with incentives and having a sustainable product strategy, he said, “Ford Motor Co. changed the day Alan Mulally walked in. There’s discipline there and a new and sustainable culture.”

When Jackson opined that all manufacturers should be more transparent in monthly sales reporting, he said, “Manufacturers, like Ford, who are totally transparent, I applaud.”

The only time Jackson was skeptical was when it came to Ford’s remaining luxury brand, Lincoln. Even then, he added that discontinuing Mercury should help revive the brand: “Clearing up the confusion with Mercury was a big start.”

You know you’re doing something right when Mike Jackson’s in your corner.