Ford Motor Co has the depth of management talent needed to hire its next chief executive from within, Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said.

Ford, who was speaking to Reuters in an interview at Ford headquarters, said he believed that Chief Executive Alan Mulally, 65, had groomed a team of potential successors for whenever he decides to retire.

Ford shares have gained more than 80 percent over the past year, outperforming the S&P 500 <.SPX> index by more than sixfold over that time.

One concern analysts have cited has been how Ford handles the eventual transition to a new chief executive after Mulally, who is credited with steering the automaker back to strength after near-collapse in 2006.

I think I wouldn't be doing my job if I said we would never look outside, Ford said. But I'm really happy with the talent that we have here and the way that Alan has developed that talent and brought them along.

Ford, 53, said he had no intention to return to the CEO post he vacated when he hired Mulally from Boeing .

Ford also said he saw no need for Ford to press for a sweeping alliance with another automaker. I think we can do it ourselves, he said.