May 11, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
These two reports tell half of the story. We'll tell you the rest in a few minutes.
Ford Shareholders Criticize Chief Exec Thursday May 11, 2:45 pm ET By Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer
CEO Bill Ford Weathers Criticism From Shareholders at Annual Meeting
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford on Thursday reiterated his pledge not to accept a salary or bonus until the company's automotive operations return to profitability, but the action didn't satisfy every shareholder at the automaker's annual meeting.
Russell Long, director of the environmental group Bluewater Network, praised Ford for promising to make 250,000 hybrid vehicles by 2010, but he said Ford needs to explore other technologies such as plug-in hybrids, which give hybrid batteries an extra electrical charge. No manufacturer currently makes a plug-in hybrid.
"We believe Ford needs to be even more courageous," Long said.
Bill Ford said the company is working hard on plug-ins but isn't ready to make any announcement. He also cited the company's commitment to ethanol vehicles, saying Ford will produce 250,000 ethanol-capable vehicles this year.
Ford leadership under fire, considers new hybrid Thu May 11, 2006 1:08 PM ET
By Kevin Krolicki
WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) shareholders voted down a proposal to curb the influence of the its founding family at an annual meeting on Thursday that featured concern over fuel economy and a sharp exchange over the quality of Bill Ford Jr's leadership as chief executive.
Pressed by environmental activists to take steps to improve Ford's fuel economy, Bill Ford said the company was considering launching a plug-in hybrid, a potential industry first.
Other shareholders spoke in favor of Ford's leadership.
Ford did not respond to the criticism, instead telling shareholders that management understood that the market was shifting rapidly because of higher oil prices.
"We are working very hard on this," he said. "We agree gas prices are high and oil is not going to be any more plentiful or easier to find in the future."
Asked about the company's commitment to reducing its reliance on gas-guzzling trucks and sport-utility vehicles, Ford said the company was weighing a plug-in hybrid.
Plug-in hybrids can be charged from a mains outlet and have greater range in all-electric mode. For longer distances a small gasoline engine kicks in, powering the vehicle like the hybrids currently offered by automakers.
Environmentalists have called plug-in technology one of the most immediate ways to improve fuel economy and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our fleet is getting smaller and we are working hard on ethanol, biofuels and hybrids," Bill Ford said,