DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally says his widely publicized meeting with Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Fujio Cho last month will not result in collaborative product development, at least for now.

Rather, he tells journalists at the North American International Auto Show here that he sees a greater opportunity for technology swapping between Ford and its Asian rival.

Mulally also says there are no current plans to sell off Jaguar Cars. Despite media reports to the contrary, he says he is “pleased with Jaguar’s performance and the progress we’re making in the quality and productivity at Jaguar.”

However, as with all of Ford’s business units, Mulally says Jaguar is under continued evaluation to ensure it is making forward progress.

Mulally, who has been criticized for not being a “car guy” since being named to Ford’s top job last September from airline giant Boeing Co., says he sees many correlations between the automotive and aerospace industries.

“The parallels between Boeing and Ford are really incredible,” he says. They’re two great companies. Both are known for continuous improvement and innovation over the years.”

After recently shedding 38,000 United Auto Workers union members from Ford’s ranks, Mulally likely still faces the difficult task of asking for more concessions from the union during this year’s labor negotiations.

“Union negotiations are really important because Ford’s being competitive going forward is the most important for all of us,” he says. “There hasn’t been a time in Ford’s history where all of us – employees, the union, our investors – didn’t want to continue to improve our company.

“I’ve known (UAW President) Ron (Gettelfinger) for years and have been talking with our employees and our union leadership,” he adds. “I’m very confident we’re going to take this very seriously to improve the competitiveness of Ford.”

After securing $24.5 billion in financing recently, Mulally says Ford is in a good position to complete its massive Way Forward turnaround plan.

“I’m very confident (about the future,) because we’re taking action to deal with the business realities,” he says. “We forecast the exact (amount) of cash we would need to sustain the automotive operations; how much we would need for the restructuring of the company; and added on some more for a cushion.

“So we absolutely have a solid financing plan to take Ford into the future,” Mulally says. “It’s an exciting time to be at Ford.”

bpope@wardsauto.com