DETROIT — Alan Mulally says Ford Motor Co. is in a "race against the clock," and he has no idea whether Ford will win.
In a startlingly candid comment, Mulally revealed uncertainty about the outcome of the struggling automaker's bid to turn itself around. But the CEO reaffirmed his confidence that Ford is executing the right strategy to fix itself.
Last December, Mulally made his first big move by mortgaging almost all of Ford's assets in a $23.4 billion financing package. The big question: Will Ford's burning of cash reverse itself before the money runs out?
Mulally arrived at Ford 14 months ago from Boeing Inc., where he led a turnaround of the commercial airplane division. Mulally, 62, told Automotive News that he is commonly asked, "Now that you've been here for a year, is it going to be OK?"
His answer: "Don't know — race against the clock. Are we working on the right things? Absolutely. I've been there. I've seen this movie. I performed well in it. I know exactly what to do. Do we have enough time? No idea."
But Mulally says he can't worry about running out of time.
"The more you worry about worrying, as opposed to worrying about doing, then you're going to put this at risk," he said, slapping a piece of paper on which he'd sketched elements of his turnaround plan. "So let's just do the goddamn plan."
The automaker's financial numbers and continuing sales collapse show its vulnerability.