Did Ford CEO Alan Mulally Really Say Communism Is Fantastic?

Ford CEO Alan Mulally. (Getty Images)

Did Ford CEO Alan Mulally actually go off in a recent interview about how much he loves Chinese communism and how “fantastic” he thinks it is?

Not exactly.

Mulally in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Keith Naughton and Craig Trudell had nothing but nice things to say about his experiences working with China.

And do you know why? It probably has something to do with the fact that Ford Motors is killing it over there.

The company reported on Tuesday that July sales in China, which, by the way, is the world’s largest auto market, jumped 71 percent from a year earlier to 72,834 wholesale units, Forbes reports.

“For the first seven months of the year, Ford sold 50% more vehicles than a year ago, or 480,555 units. That compares with an approximately 12% rise in passenger car sales in China during the first six months of the year, the latest available period,” the report adds.

This raises some interesting questions. First, what’s it like for Ford to do business with a communist country? Second, is it any different than working with democracies?

The Chinese “are a pleasure to work with,” Mulally said. “You’re welcomed, you’re part of the fabric. ‘What can we do to help? What can we do to work together?’ There’s nothing like it in the world.”

The Bloomberg interview continued and the CEO was asked for his take on the fact that China has “the world’s largest communist government” but that it also “creates the world’s greatest capitalist market.”

“It’s fantastic,” he replied. “The working relationship between the party and the government is tight. They both have the same objective, to grow the economy.”

So, no, he didn’t exactly say communism is “fantastic.” Rather, he was commenting on how the communist country seems to have come to an agreement on how to grow its economy, allowing businesses to move forward with less intervention from government forces.

Also, as Business Insider notes, it’s important to remember that Mulally is going on the record. What is he supposed to do? Bad mouth an important business partner and its government?

With the kind of sales Ford’s currently enjoying in that market, anything less than praise for the country’s business leaders would be suicidal.

Lastly, Mulally has a relationship with China that dates back to at least the 1970s. It’s likely he has established a routine that he finds enjoyable and genuinely pleasant.

What businessman wouldn’t have something nice to say about that kind of setup?

FINAL THOUGHT: Is China communist? Yes. Does she silence and oppress her people? Yes. But you know what? The best way for that to become a dying trend in that country is for it to continue to open itself up to the idea of capitalism and free markets. Establishing a lucrative and mutually beneficial relationship with Ford Motors is a good step in that direction.

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