Ford’s Motor Co.’s return to investment grade status is a milestone for the auto industry, even if it has emerged from the credit crisis and recession in much better shape than its peers.

On April 24, Fitch Ratings lifted its issuer default rating for the company and its Ford Motor Credit subsidiary to 'BBB-', the lowest investment grade designation, from 'BB+', citing the company’s  “significantly improved financial performance, balance sheet repair, and product portfolio improvement” over the past several years.

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