DETROIT (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it earned $1.6 billion in the first quarter. On a conference call with media, CEO Alan Mulally was asked about the depreciation of the Japanese yen. Ford and other automakers worry that a weak yen would give Japanese automakers an unfair price advantage, since it would cost them less to make vehicles in Japan.
Q: On Jan. 29, on your fourth quarter call, you mentioned that you felt there were conversations with the U.S. government on how to encourage the free market to set foreign exchange rates and you were kind of encouraged by that. I was curious how your thoughts have changed. Have you seen any signs of either behavior changing among your Japanese competitors or if that pace of discussion is intensifying?
A (CEO Alan Mulally): I am still very much encouraged, because since we talked, the U.S. government has also continued that dialogue with Japan. It's also included in the discussion about the free trade agreement with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I'm very encouraged to see just the conversation about letting the markets set the exchange rate and being part of those free trade agreements. Clearly, this affects everybody around the world and I'm confident that we're going to work this out to get back to reality-based trading.
With respect to the near term, we haven't seen the effect of (the yen's depreciation) yet in a big way but clearly that would put many people at very much of a disadvantage if that continues. So I'm very encouraged that we're going to continue to work this, government to government.