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Ford

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The Ford Motor Company, commonly referred to as Ford, is one of the world's largest car and truck manufacturers. Brands include Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Ford owns a 33% controlling stake in Mazda and also controls the Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo brands. Ford family members own about 40% of the company's voting stock. In 2006, the company had sales of $160 billion, with a net loss of $12.6 billion. [1] Founded by Henry Ford.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Ford has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)[2]. See ALEC Corporations for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Ford and fuel efficiency standards

While Ford has sought to re-position itself as a 'green' manufacturer, it remains an opponent of mandatory fuel efficiency standards. On its website Ford states that "market based initiatives, not mandated increases, are the best method of improving fuel economy." [1]

While arguing in favour of market based mechanisms, Ford makes it clear it wants Congress to provide incentives to stimulate demand. "We are working with environmental organizations and Congress to create consumer tax credits to encourage and accelerate the purchase and market acceptance of advanced technology vehicles, such as hybrids and fuel cells," it states. [2]

Ford, the Sierra Club & SUV's

Readers of the Sierra Club's magazine know it runs glossy full-page ads from car companies selling hybrids. Now the Sierra Club is also mobilizing its members and launching a marketing campaign to help Ford peddle its latest SUV the Mercury Mariner, which has a reported fuel efficiency of 33 city, 29 highway miles per gallon.

In June 2003 the Sierra Club took out a full page ad in the New York Times to coincide with the company's 100th anniversary. "1903-2003: A Century Of Innovation ... Except at Ford", the ad stated pointing out that the Model T Ford travelled 25 miles for each gallon of petrol. [3]

Has the Sierra Club's love of hybrids devolved to greenwashing Ford? The Club's Dan Becker says, "If we can work with Ford to make their Mercury Hybrid a hit, Ford will be convinced that you can make money and make a vehicle that's clean." But Rainforest Action Network (RAN) director Michael Brune counters in the New York Times, "It's a nice gesture, but we think it's more PR than progress." With the PR firm Fenton Communications, RAN and Global Exchange are cranking up their Jump Start Ford campaign, shaming Ford for having the worst fuel efficiency of any major car company.[4]

Pushing Gas-Guzzlers

Sales of gas-guzzling pickup trucks are softening due to high gasoline prices, so PR Week reports that the Ford Motor Company has launched a series of PR stunts aimed at pumping up sales to country folk, including sponsoring a monster truck rally, NASCAR races, and a marketing arrangement with country singer Toby Keith to have a video play at the beginning of Keith's concerts, showing him driving an F-series pickup. Meanwhile Toyota, "one of the few automakers currently doing very well," is holding seminars to talk up the fuel efficiency of its hybrid pickups. Which strategy is working? Ford's CEO has talked big about being an environmentalist for years, but has repeatedly reneged on its promises to build more fuel-efficient vehicles while his company loses money and market share.

"Had Mr. Ford produced more fuel-efficient vehicles like hybrids sooner," observes the New York Times, "he not only would have found his company keeping pace with nimble foreign competitors like Toyota when oil prices spiked, but he also would have been able to illustrate the bottom-line merit of his environmental values. Instead, Ford, is again in the all-too-familiar spot of playing corporate catch-up."

Political contributions

Ziad S. Ojakli, Group Vice President of Government and Community Relations (lobbyist) for Ford, is a Bush Pioneer having raised at least $100,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. [3]

Ford's website said of Ojakli, "He leads a team that helps shape policy and legislation that promote the company's core business objectives including areas of tax, litigation and regulatory relief for business, energy reform, automotive safety, international trade, and improvements in the nation's health care and pension systems."

As part of the government-industry revolving door, before working at Ford, Ojakli was Deputy Assistant to George W. Bush for Legislative Affairs, the President’s chief liaison to the U.S. Senate. Before joining the White House staff, Ojakli was the Senate liaison for the Bush-Cheney Transition Team. [4]

Ford's political action committee (PAC) gave $316,900 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle - 23% to Democrats and 77% to Republicans. [5]

Lobbying

The company spent $9,100,000 for lobbying in 2006. Of this total, $1,235,000 went to eight lobbying firms, including Ernst & Young, Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, Alpine Group, Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, Bryan Cave Strategies, and Hogan & Hartson. [6]

Personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [7]

Selected members of the Board of Directors: [8]

Contact details

1 American Road
Dearborn, MI 48126
Phone: 313-322-3000
Fax: 313-845-6073
Web: http://www.ford.com

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Ford Profile, Hoovers, accessed September 2007.
  2. Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research, project of the Environmental Working Group, Information on American Legislative Exchange Council, archived organizational profile, archived by Wayback Machine December 2, 2000, accessed August 19, 2011
  3. Bush Pioneer Ziad S. Ojakli, Texans for Public Justice, accessed September 2007.
  4. Biography: Ziad S. Ojakli, Ford, accessed September 2007.
  5. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets.
  6. Ford Motor Co lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
  7. Ford Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed September 2007.
  8. Board of Directors, Ford, accessed September 2007.

External resources

"Feature: A Better Way to Build an SUV", Sierra Club, undated.

External articles