Kiss of death?
By Poornima Gupta
Jan 7, 2007
(Reuters) Ford Motor Co.'s British luxury division Jaguar is not for sale,
Chief Executive Alan Mulally said on Sunday.
"Jaguar is not for sale at this time," Mulally told reporters on the
sidelines of the North American International Auto Show.
"We really like the progress Jaguar is making both on the product side and
on their quality and productivity," he said. "They are on a really good
positive business improvement plan."
Mulally, who replaced Bill Ford Jr. as CEO in September, had earlier
declined to rule out the sale of money-losing Jaguar and other premium
brands in its portfolio.
Ford, which is in the midst of its third restructuring in five years, has
said its British sports car unit Aston Martin was for sale. But analysts are
keen to see the company sell Jaguar.
Jaguar managing director Bibiana Boerio said she is focused on resurrecting
Jaguar's vehicle line-up and does not worry about a possible sale of the
"I don't spend a minute a minute worrying about that," she said. "I can't
control it. Ford will take the action it needs to take."
Ford bought Jaguar, an iconic British brand known for its leaping cat hood
ornament, for $2.82 billion in 1989 but has struggled to make money with the
Jaguar's sales are down nearly 32 percent for 2006 in the United States, the
company's largest market.
Ford's luxury division, called Premier Automotive Group, is expected to post
a loss for 2006. Jaguar remains the biggest drag on the division's results.
Ford, overall, lost about $7 billion in the first three quarters of 2006.
Further losses are forecast in the October-December quarter and beyond as it
continued to lose U.S. market share to Asian rivals led by Toyota Motor
Ford Chairman Bill Ford, speaking during a press conference at the auto
show, characterized 2006 as a "difficult year and said 2007 was a "pivotal
year" for the automaker.
Speaking at the same event, Mulally, who was hired away from aircraft maker
Boeing Co., said Ford's U.S. vehicle line-up will include more crossover
vehicles and small cars and the company will continue investing in its
European luxury brands.
Yet another $.02 worth from a proud owner of a 1970 Mach 1 351C @