This Ford commentary from Jim Cramer originally appeared on RealMoney on Dec. 22.

We're in a strange moment when it comes to asset allocation and an industry as large as the auto industry is to the American economy. Right now there are almost no pure plays except for a couple of parts makers that have become very expensive,

Johnson Controls

(JCI) - Get Report

, which has more than just auto,

Toyota

(TM) - Get Report

,

Honda

(HMC) - Get Report

and

Ford

(F) - Get Report

.

I like Johnson Controls for my

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portfolio, but Ford is the way that the big money managers get their exposure to the group. It's an up stock that is liquid, and the company has a chance to be the biggest producer in the world with a management everybody trusts.

Ford is remarkable. Simply by not taking government money, it has become a favorite, and its cars are the most fuel-efficient and least polluting. The quality ratings just go higher and higher.

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This company could be a

huge

2010 story, and managers are positioning themselves as such. I am hoping Ford does a tender offer for the preferred I like so much. It keeps going up, so that's a possibility.

This is a stock that many managers will say, "I can't afford

not

to own." There are so few stocks that fit that bill. And its balance sheet just gets better and better, which will make borrowing costs low and Ford Motor Credit worth a fortune to the company.

Ford's CEO, Alan Mulally, is the most reliable industrial executive in the world right now. I can see this stock continuing to go higher through the rest of the year, and it's not a bad idea, still, to pick some up before it takes out $10 a share.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long JCI.

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