Morning Joe | December 03, 2012
>>> joining us now, this is going to be great, president and ceo of ford, alan mulally along with the executive vice president of global marketing for ford and lincoln , jim farley , here with a big announcement about one of ford's classic brands and i told you this off camera. growing up, i mean, if you drove a lincoln in the town that i grew up in, man, that is what you aspird to.
>> please, share some more.
>> today the lincoln brand has never died, i don't think, in people's minds. it's still out there. but it has a 21st century update. tell us about it.
>> that's why we're here today. it's exciting. we're launching the first of our vehicles for the invention of the lyincoln van called the mkz. we'll launch at the lincoln center and it captures everything about that history of innovation and elegant design. and i think you see a picture of it here. and the response we're getting is fantastic. we have jim here who leads lincoln worldwide and clearly knows the premium brand business.
>> what's in this car that will make you want to drive it or buy it?
>> we are so excited. the hybrid is something worth talking about. 45 miles per gallon , the most fuel efficient luxury sedan in america. the whole roof retracts. we have bush button transmission.
>> the whole roof retracts?
>> yes. it's the largest open roof. but probably the biggest deal is it's a lincoln . it's beautiful to look at, elegant, understated, and that's what has made lincoln all these years.
>> looking at the mkz right now, but ford, through the years, you've owned volvo, you've owned range rover . was it at some psychic expense to lincoln , a luxury brand ?
>> this was a really important participate of our plan. remember six years ago ford really had a house of brands. aston martin and jaguar, landover and volvo as you mentioned. at the time we made a decision we were going to absolutely focus on the ford brand and on the lincoln so we divested all of those. now everybody associated with ford and lyincoln worldwide know what we're here for every day to make the very best ford family and the best premium family.
>> jim , how important was the hybrid element in pitching this to the new generation?
>> it's a great question. fuel efficiency is number one. it's moved up quickly. we've had a hybrid mkz but this brand na product goes on sale later this month. it was so important to lead the industry. for lincoln to be known, to be the innovator, we have to lead.
>> the number one reason people buy cars is fuel efficiency ? mine is cup holders .
>> well, that's important, too.
>> please ignore mr. barnicle.
>> that's pretty stunning considering where we were in 2009 . it's not -- so two questions. where is the auto industry now? what does that say, and do you think we'll get back to the 16 million, 17 million we were before?
>> clear willy it's still a robust industry as you pointed out. even though the growth rate is slower than you have had from previous recessions, we also recovered. what's really amazing is that the average age of vehicles in the united states is nearly 11 years old. so when you look at the fuel efficiency and the reliability, you can make a decision to economically obsolete that older vehicle by purchasing a new one. so all throughout the recession we invest and now we're here as the recovery continues.
>> what's your biggest xet competitor for the new lincoln ? is it the lexus, the bmw?
>> i think it will be that and mercedes, all of the luxury -- it's a xcompetitive marketplace. as jim said, we think we have a really nice new family of distinctive luxury vehicles .
>> we're not going to let you get out of here without asking you about the potential impact if we do go over the fiscal cliff, not in a car but as a nation, what happens to car sales?
>> well, it's a concern to all of us because this is still a very, very fragile recovery. the good thing is it is a recovery. be a and it's just so important we come together to deal with a plan on the revenue side and expense side. what we're talk iing about is keeping economic development going and that's the most important thing about this issue.
>> do members of congress, do people in the white house reach out to you to talk about these things?
>> they do. we really appreciate that. of course it is such a big decision for the consumers next to their home so it's a very good leading indicator how people are feeling and of course the most important thing about the fiscal cliff is, it can result in less discretionary income which can have an impact on the economy. it's really important we come together on a solution.
>> one of the things you are known for at ford is really bringing everyone together. i mean, bringing this huge company together, really mobilizing everyone to work together. what advice -- you testified for your competitors back in the auto -- during the bailouts. what advice would you give to washington right now? what needs to happen to get us through this and to get to a deal so we don't do what you just said?
>> it's so important and it really is about working together. and i think the most important thing is we really deal with our current reality. i mean, our budget dech sits and our debt are not sustainable. we need to work both the revenue side and the expense side and we need to come together. what we're talking about is the economy of the united states of america and we're only expanding around 2% right now. it needs to be considerably higher to bring more people off unemployment. the most important thing is to listen to each other and work to common solutions always on the eye of creating an environment where businesses can grow and provide great jobs and great careers going forward. i think that's the most important thing is to stay focused on what the job is at hand.
>> and anything about the cup holders ?
>> well, you can have big cups or small cups.
>> what else do you have in the car, though? internal, people like gadgets now. do they have the maps and everything like that?
>> we have my lincoln touch system which is really the latest and greatest in human machine interfaces, it's really nice. you can command the vehicle with your voice. and you can do it with the swipe of your finger, of course. but probably the neat thing we have is a new push button transmission. and instead of your traditional shifter --
>> it if you're chrysler --
>> push, drive or reverse. what's neat about it, it freed up the instrument panel, the center console to be really beautiful now. because we don't have that big, clunky, shift mechanism. i think you'll find some new things.
>> does it have a great democratic name? postmaster general from the '30s and '40s?
>> the voice of the bronx. the most important new york politician.