Reporting Jeff Gilbert
DEARBORN (WWJ) – For the first time in nearly six years, the Blue Oval trademark is owned one hundred percent by the Ford Motor Company.
“Mortgaging the Blue Oval was not just mortgaging an asset, it was our heritage,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “To get it back is almost indescribeable.”
To get the $23.5 billion loan it needed for its turnaround back in 2006, Ford mortgaged most of its assets, including its trademark. Today, Moody’s investment service increased Ford’s credit rating to investment-grade. That was the trigger to allow Ford get back the assets it was using as collateral.
“All the way through, there were naysayers,” said Ford. “I knew we had the right management team. I knew we had the right plan, and most importantly, I knew we had the right employees.”
Ford greeted workers at a celebration outside the company’s headquarters building in Dearborn. They put on blue t-shirts and white t-shirts and formed a giant Ford Blue Oval on the building’s west lawn.
“Y’know we’ve always known this day was going to come soon, it’s just a matter of when,” said Ford worker Tim Herrick. “Now that it’s here, it feels really good.”
The improved credit rating also allows Ford to borrow money at a lower interest rate. That’s something that could save the company billions of dollars.
Bill Ford’s decision to hire Alan Mulally as CEO has been seen as a turning point for the company. But, Ford says the turnaround was a true team effort.
“It wasn’t me, it wasn’t Alan. We helped. But, everybody at this company pulled together.”
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