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William Clay Ford, retired vice chairman of Ford Motor Company and the last surviving grandchild of company founder Henry Ford, died this morning after a bout with pneumonia. He was 88.
Ford spent 57 years with his grandfather's company, joining the board of directors in 1948 before graduating from college. Ford also held a position as chairman of the design committee, as well as the chairman of the executive committee and vice chairman of the Board of Directors during his tenure with the company. In a 2013 Detroit Free Press story, retired CFO Allan Gilmour said Ford had an eye for design, and was once able to pick out when a fiberglass model of a Ford Contour was asymmetrical, off by an inch on one side. He retired and assumed the position of director emeritus in 2005.
"My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community," said Bill Ford, Jr., Ford's current executive chairman. "He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, yet he will continue to inspire us all."
We record Autoblog Podcast #317 tonight, and you can drop us your questions and comments regarding the rest of the week's news via our Q&A module below. Subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven't already done so, and if you want to take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.
Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #317
$1.8 million is spent each year to maintain GM's fleet of 600 production and concept cars.
When at least two of the Detroit Three were on the verge of death a few years back, one of the tough questions that was asked of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler execs - outside of why execs were still taking private planes to meetings - was why each company maintained huge archives of old production and concept vehicles. GM, for example, had an 1,100-vehicle collection when talk of a federal bailout began.