Mulally preaches routine in times of disruption

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"There are companies that sell you a car of $ 120,000, and it's riding on a $ 70,000 battery, so that does not make sense." Alan Mulally, retired CEO of Ford

PHOENIX – Alan Mulally believes that good routines can make good decisions. The man who, as CEO of Ford Motor Co., set up weekly executive reviews of all operations, said that consistent analysis is the best way for leaders to judge disruptive technologies.

"In today's world, with autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles that do not make sense, and a lot of things that are quite logical, and the competitors – the most important thing is that you know what's going on and you're looking at your plan, "Mulally, 73, said at the annual convention of the National Auto Auction Association, where he was the keynote speaker. "If you look at it every week, every month and every quarter, you get a very good feeling for these winds of change, so you will not be overwhelmed, you have to be aware of it."

Mulally, who in 2014 stopped using weekly business plan reviews to change Ford about ten years ago, said that the introduction of EVs and autonomous vehicles and transportation as a service will somehow happen.

But he spoke critically at the auction conference on the economics of battery-powered cars.

"Electric vehicles are fun, and you can get big electric vehicles from Ford, but that does not make sense," Mulally said. "And they will not make any sense until we have another chemistry besides lithium ion, there are companies that sell you a car of $ 120,000, and it's riding on a $ 70,000 battery, so that does not make sense."

& # 39; A long way to go & # 39;

He also struck the government policy around the shift, in particular requirements in some states for zero-emission vehicle sales and the tax credits provided to encourage consumers to purchase such vehicles.

"We even have to increase the prices of vehicles that people need – to subsidize the vehicles that people do not want to make that quota," Mulally said. "How do you think that goes as an energy policy in the United States? I do not think so well."

But there is hope, he said.

"You can see a world, if you can make a breakthrough in the batteries, we can move the electricity from the electricity grid to our homes, to our cars," he said. "And if we clean it, we're going to save the world now."

Efforts to develop transport as a service will continue, Mulally said, but switching to fully self-driving vehicles – which do not require human supervision – is the only opportunity that such services have to make money. And while progress has been made, "there is still a long way to go on autonomous vehicles," says Mulally, who is on board at Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google and Waymo.

Ford leaders will figure it out & # 39;

Mulally briefly weighed in on Ford and said that business leaders "will find out."

"Ford, like everyone else, is trying to figure out what's going on and it will get messy, & # 39; he said. "It will seem messy because it is messy."

His Ford comments were limited to efforts on new mobility services and the future of transport. Ford replaced Mulally's successor, Mark Fields, in May 2017 and replaced him with current CEO Jim Hackett. In July, Hackett launched a worldwide restructuring of the company with a value of $ 11 billion.

"What I do know is that Ford has the most talented people in the world and that they care," Mulally said. They know that they are working on something very important and we will be there at the end and we will figure it out. & # 39;