President Barack Obama heaped praise on Ford Motor Co. and its best-selling F-series pickups, calling the Dearborn automaker “the No. 1 automaker” in the United States.
Obama visited Ford’s Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo., on Friday, mostly to urge Congress to raise the debt ceiling and approve funding to keep the government running after the current budget expires on Sept. 30.
He called Ford President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally “one of our outstanding business leaders, who has helped to lead Ford to be the No.1 automaker in the United States of America.”
What the president meant by that is unclear. Ford is not the best-selling U.S. automaker. That’s a position General Motors Co. has held for decades. GM sold 1.9 million vehicles in the first eight months of 2012, compared to 1.7 million by Ford. GM is the world’s second-best selling automaker behind Toyota Motor Corp.
Obama heaped praise on Ford’s F-series pickup, the best-selling vehicle — car or truck — in the U.S. “The only thing tougher than Ford trucks are American workers, the American people, that’s what we’ve shown” he said. “The new F-150 is built tougher than ever, more fuel efficient than ever. You’ve got trouble making them fast enough.”
Obama compared Congressional wrangling over the debt ceiling to going to a Ford dealership to buy an F-150. “Once you bought your truck, you can’t say you’re saving money by not paying the bills,” Obama said. “I can’t just say, ‘I’m not going make my car payment this month.’
“Basically America becomes a deadbeat,” Obama said, saying a default could raise interest rates — and that could hurt auto sales. “This is not some abstract thing.”
“The Big Three are all profitable,” Obama said. “The American auto industry has come roaring back.”
He said that Ford had made “some smart decisions” before the financial collapse in 2008 and didn’t need a government bailout, but said if the rest of the industry had collapsed it would have tanked the supplier base and that could have affected Ford.
Asked by email for his reaction to the president’s endorsement of Ford trucks, Mulally wrote: “:)))))))) Go Further with Ford!!!”
GM spokesman Greg Martin noted GM’s long-running top position in U.S. auto sales.
“We’re clearly No. 1 in sales volume, overall quality, and Consumer Reports’ No. 1 sedan and truck,” Martin said. “ I am sure this is nothing more than a rhetorical device — and whatever plant he visits, that automaker is No. 1 for a day.”