The Export-Import Bank of the United States will guarantee a loan to finance $3.1 billion of Ford Motor Company “export sales” to Canadian and Mexican markets. The loan from the Federal agency will underwrite the sale of about 200,000 Ford vehicles.
The announcement came as the President of the United States visited a third Detroit Three auto plant in less than a week, defending his increasingly unpopular economic polices during a mid-term election year.
This time, President Obama was at a Ford plant in Chicago that will make the new Explorer. Ford of course made billions from what is arguably the most popular sport utility vehicle of all time, but it stayed with a heavy, relatively crude body-on-frame design for a decade after it became clear that more efficient, comfortable unit-body “crossovers” were the configuration of the future.
Unlike GM and Chrysler last week, Ford made no attempt to publicize the event, leaving all the promotion to the White House in what I take to be Ford’s latest attempt to distance itself from the wildly unpopular taxpayer subsidies that went to those two bankrupt companies last year.
Ford has now received a $5.9 billion Department of Energy credit line for the development of fuel-efficient vehicles, as part of the $787 billion government stimulus plan promulgated by the newly established Obama Administration in 2009. Part of the money went to refurbish the Explorer plant.
The Administration – under heavy criticism because of a slumping economy and high unemployment rates despite massive Federal government spending – claimed that the new export loan will help meet a previously announced goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. (See Ford CEO to Serve on President’s Export Council)