Alan Mulally, chief executive officer of Ford, talks about the future of U.S. manufacturing
I get letters from all over America, saying we have to make goods. Do you buy that idea?
Absolutely. Manufacturing is the foundation for economic development, and the answer for energy independence and environmental sustainability. You look at manufacturing in the U.S. and it's nearly 12 percent of gross domestic product and represents 12 million jobs. Seventy percent of all the country's research and development is associated with manufacturing. It's not just assembling and component fabrication. The U.S. is doing system solutions and the highest level of engineering work.
Is labor participating in what appears to be a manufacturing renaissance in America?
Not only are they participating, but they're helping to lead it. I can't say enough about the partnership we have with the UAW. The transformational agreement that we did together is now allowing us to convert truck plants to car plants and make the best vehicles in the world right here in America.
What's the outlook for the auto industry this year. When do we get back to sales of 16 million units a year
Well, I think it's going to be a little slower than in the past. The economy is recovering, but we've gone down to a low of 10.6 million. Our guidance (F) right now is 11.5 million to 12.5 million in the U.S. for this year and then maybe over 14 million in 2011. We're recovering—consumers are coming back.
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