Ford Considers Selling Hertz

DEARBORN, Mich. -– During a conference call to announce first-quarter financial results, Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford suggested the company is considering selling Hertz Corp.

"The market is pretty buoyant right now, Hertz is doing well, and it's probably the right time to take a look at it," Ford said in response to a question from a Merrill Lynch analyst.

Ford called Hertz "a great company," but also acknowledged that car rental is outside of Ford's core business in the long term.

The question about Hertz was raised by an earlier statement from Don Leclair, Ford's chief financial officer.

"We have to ensure that we have the right capital structure to support our business. In that regard, Hertz is a great, well-managed business," Leclair said. "As a result of their strong performance and our continued de-emphasis of selling vehicles to the daily rental companies, we are beginning to evaluate long-term strategic objectives for Hertz."

Hertz became a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford in March 2001, after Ford reacquired the outstanding 18.5% of Hertz's stock.

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