Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Wednesday January 12.
Cramer called Ford (F) "the greatest comeback story in my generation and it is a story that is far from over." In the past two years, Ford has gone from "roadkill to king of the road without a penny from Uncle Sam." The great recession gave Ford the opportunity to clean up its balance sheet, simplify production and to put an end to extraneous brands while slashing costs and giving customers "the best product money can buy." By integrating cutting edge technology, Ford is becoming "The Apple (AAPL) of autos." With its announcement that it will add 7,000 new jobs in the next year, "Ford is back and hiring," Cramer said.
The stock has seen a 517% gain since December 2008, thanks to the "transformational CEO" Alan Mullaly who was the architect of the Boeing (BA) comeback. Cramer thinks Ford could double again and reach a price target of $36. Mulally says profitability for Ford will be greater in 2011 than it was in 2010 and is seeing a strong growth rate in the U.S. driven by pent up demand.
When asked about Ford's competitor GM (GM), Mulally reminded Cramer that he had advocated for government assistance for GM for the sake of the industry and the American economy. "We focus on the customers...the customers will decide who is going to be successful going forward." Mulally said the company's "profitability for all" vision allows suppliers, employees, shareholders and customers alike to share in the company's success.
When a viewer asked Cramer about lithium and auto batteries, Cramer recommended the Lithium ETF (LIT) or the Chemical & Mining company of Chile (SQM) as a pure play on lithium. He confessed that he is worried about the issue of auto batteries because of the special rare metals that go into them. "I wonder if we have thought it through...do we have enough of what goes into them?" Ford is a secular growth stock with multiple years of upside, regardless of what world economies will do and GM is a comeback story; "I believe the turnaround will happen and it is going to be successful."
"One Ford" is Number One: With CEO Alan Mulally, Mark Fields, Executive VP and William Clay Ford Jr., Executive Director.
Wednesday's Mad Money was broadcast from Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Cramer spoke with CEO Alan Mulally, Mark Fields, Executive VP and William Clay Ford Jr., Executive Director about the business in general and the company's plans to integrate the company worldwide, the"Ford One" strategy in particular.
The company's vision has always been about "profitability for all...we are having a good year, our suppliers are having a good year, our dealers, our communities. It all has to have this big virtuous circle where everyone's boat rises," said Mark Fields, Exec VP of the Americas
William Clay Ford Jr. acknowledged the company has a tough balancing act, "but it is made easier by the One Ford. It really has simplified our company. It has clarified our focus and allowed us to align all our constituents."
CEO Alan Mulally added, "a fundamental vision for our company is people working together in global enterprise, not just a company but an enterprise...we look at every measure and either it is moving up or it isn't...so the more all of the stakeholders move up, it just gets better and better."
Mark Shield said, "I've had the opportunity to work at a lot of different Ford operations around the world. We were global, but global in name only. Now (with One Ford) we basically merged ourselves...we've never been able to do this before where we really act globally and take advantage of our skill teams."
Cramer asked if the "One Ford" plan allows for enough local diversity and personalization. Mulally replied that there is a complete family of vehicles, so every customer has many options. About 80% of the auto parts are the same the world over but there is 20% variation that allows the customer flexibility and choice. "Around the world, a lot of customer preferences are converging," Shield added.
Mulally concluded, "The increase in market share and production is off the strength of the product line...those same brand promises: quality, green, safe and smart, are the same whether it is a large vehicle or small."
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