A couple of weeks ago, the Detroit auto makers came to congress to ask for some cash to help their struggling companies. Congress asked them for their plan, and they didn’t have one. So much for asking dad for an advance on our allowance to buy more Hot Wheels.
What I thought was interesting about this exchange is the story regarding their travel habits. The news was that the 3 CEOs came to Washington via private jet. Not 1 private jet, three separate private jets. Each flight costing $20,000 for the round trip. The comparable flight on a commercial airline would have been about $750 dollars.
With all the outrage from the public regarding executive compensation, you would have thought these guys would have maybe thought about this. Its tough for the american public to sympathize with you guys when you spent $60,000 on a day trip to Washington to ask for $25B in taxpayer money.
Missed the Oportunity
What could one of them done to look like a hero? Assume the Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, gassed up a new 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid and headed out for the 8-hour trip to DC from Detroit. As the news story breaks that the other 2 CEOs flew their jets, Ford’s CEO pulls up to the hearings in his shiny hybrid. When the microphones are shoved in his face, he quotes, “I didn’t think it would be right to show up and ask for help after flying the corporate jet. Besides, the Ford Escape is one of the best cars for highway travel with an estimated 34 mpg.”
He could have been a hero and great salesperson. That could have been the story. The book is closed on what “could have been.”
So, today the big 3’s plans are due to congress and Mr. Mulally is driving to DC and the other 2 are flying commercial. Sorry guys, you only get one chance to make a first impression.