The report was called “Ford: Rebuilding an American Icon.”
Reporter Phil LeBeau opened the documentary with CEO Alan Mulally at last month's Paris auto show celebrating Ford's comeback.
I was in Paris with Mulally at that very press event — in fact it was my tape recorder that Mulally jokingly kissed in CNBC's opening shot. Mulally was in a good mood that night. But I wouldn't characterize him as ready to declare victory.
Doing so could be dangerous.
Just a few years back, some in the media wrote that General Motors Co.'s turnaround was a success. We all know how that movie ended: In 2009 GM filed for federal bankruptcy protection.
I'm not gloom-and-doom on Ford. They're doing a fine job.
I'm just cautious.
While it is gaining market share in the United States, Ford trails many rivals in emerging markets such as China and India.
And let's not forget the automaker still owes $22.8 billion in debt, must rebuild Lincoln, cut the ranks of Lincoln dealers by hundreds, and continue to manage a massive recall of about 8.4 million vehicles that can possibly catch fire. And it needs to return to an investment-grade credit rating.
And the world is a continually changing and growing place.
Just days before the Paris auto show, Mulally told analysts in London that he wants to continue paring Ford's model lineup.
That alone is a sure indication that Mr. Mulally knows his work is no where near complete.
|CEO Alan Mulally|
Ford CEO Alan Mulally is the auto industry's rock star. When he took the reins in 2006, the company was on the brink of financial disaster. Mulally was challenged to get Ford back on track --- a mission he accomplished.
Sales of Ford's top selling Explorer SUV fell dramatically in the early 2000s, hit first by a series of fatal rollover accidents caused by faulty tires and then a gasoline spike hike which made gas guzzlers out of fashion. Now Ford is back with a redesigned, fuel-efficient Explorer for the 21st century.
Ford has always prided itself as a leader in automotive technology. Now, they're developing technology that allows drivers to connect to their cell phones, digital music players and other devices by using voice commands.
|The Ford Family|
The Ford family has owned or controlled Ford for more than a century. It's been a rollercoaster, boom-and-bust ride.
India is the fastest growing car market in the world and Ford has built a new subcompact car – the Ford Figo -- specifically for Indian buyers. The company hopes it will increase domestic sales and turn India into a small car exporter.