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As two of the Big Three U.S. auto makers slip closer to oblivion after months on government life-support, Ford Motor Co. is conspicuously chugging along on its own. A treasury that bet heavily on liquidity and was willing to pay dearly for it played no small part of Ford’s relative success. By stockpiling cash, the treasury bought Ford both staying power and room to maneuver in the current crisis. This spring Ford tapped its cash hoard and the equity value that the strong cash position was supporting to wipe $10 billion in debt off its balance sheet.

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