DEARBORN - Each month, the Ford Retired Engineering Executives (FREE) club reunites for a luncheon where they discuss current company issues and hear from current executives and thought leaders in the company.
Speaking at this month’s meeting was Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, chief economist.
Day to day, Hughes-Cromwick oversees the corporate economics and strategic issues of the company with a responsibility of global automotive industry analysis and forecasts that are used to support planning.
During the FREE meeting, she updated the group on the global business environment and the determining factors that play a role for Ford laying out their landscape for future business, innovations and products.
“We are anticipating some very enjoyable years ahead,” said Hughes-Cromwick. “The overall economic activity is set to expand in the next three to six months.”
According to Hughes-Cromwick, there will be some different dynamics in this next decade that are not anywhere near to what we’re used to seeing now.
The economy is in a period where we’re seeing the global population enter the takeoff phase – including a global economic rise, growing housing economy and population growth that all play key factors in affecting the automotive industry.
“People are moving into the middle class of affordability and there’s a rise in the demand for mobility,” she said.
With breakout markets entering the pre-takeoff stage, those who have already began to takeoff and newly emerging markets that are bringing new business to the forefront - growth is on the rise.
“When we look at decades of history, going back to the early 1900s, we had a fantastic period in the 20s,” she said. “Now we’re in another sweet spot and I assert that this is a very unique period we’re entering in terms of economic history.”
Following her presentation, Hughes-Cromwick addressed several questions from the members – including one inquiry from a retiree who asked about printing money and stimulating the economy.
“My view on it is that we are in a very different environment today and we’ve been through the crisis before where we saw the lights go out with no U.S. demand for commercial paper, no ability to issue credit or ability to get capital to operate. But we realize that this is something that only happens once in a lifetime,” she said.
Each month a new guest speaker attends this event. Next meeting Nancy Gioia, director of Electric Car Programs and SYNC, will be speaking to the group. Click here for more information on FREE and their initiatives.
More than 450 Ford alumni are members of FREE – making it one of the largest and most prestigious retiree organizations in the company. With more than 40 years as an active retiree group, FREE membership is limited to those with supervisory experience at an LL5 (SG11) or above.