Tesla is a Serious Threat, Warns Ford CEO to 20,000 Employees

Tesla and its growing presence in the automotive industry was a major topic at Ford’s recent virtual town hall, which was attended by around 20,000 employees from around the globe.

During the virtual conference, Ford CEO Jim Farley spoke about Tesla, warning that the company must take Tesla seriously as the dominant player in the electric vehicle (EV) market (via @WholeMarsBlog).

Farley pointed Ford employees to the fact that after Hertz ordered 100,000 EVs from the company in a $4.2 billion USD deal, Tesla’s market capitalization broke $1 trillion USD for the first time ever.

Tesla is not to be taken lightly — the company only makes all-electric vehicles and makes them well, and Farley said Ford needs to innovate and create new ideas to catch up with Tesla in the EV space, where the entirety of the automotive world is currently headed.

For example, Tesla is able to simplify its supply chain as it has just a few touch screens while Ford has many, employees were told. Tesla is also able to sell a car with a few clicks versus the dealership model Ford uses, and no negotiation is needed.

“If Ford was a trillion-dollar company, our stock would be worth about $250 a share. Think about the value creation of Tesla right now. And they have resources, smart people, the Model 3 is now the bestselling vehicle in Europe. Not electric. Flat out,” said Farley.

It was the bestselling vehicle in the UK. Most months, it’s the bestselling vehicle in California. Not just electric, but overall. If we’re going to succeed, we can’t ignore this competition anymore,” he added, urging employees to start considering Tesla as a serious threat to the company’s future.

Last month, the Model 3 also became the world’s best-selling premium vehicle — electric or otherwise, and Tesla is currently on the verge of bringing its Berlin Gigafactory fully online.

Farley went on to talk about what makes Tesla so successful — a culture that breeds ingenuity, a direct-to-consumer business model with no intermediaries, product differentiation, and superior battery technology.

Farley also drew attendees’ attention to what Ford can learn from Tesla to not just surpass it, but also to make the company’s transition to an all-electric portfolio faster, easier, and more profitable.

While the launch of Ford’s all-electric Mach-E did manage to put the veteran automaker in the running against Tesla, the Mach-E got off to a rocky start due to the ongoing chip shortage and ultimately couldn’t take Tesla’s crown. In September, Ford ended up recalling 17,000 Mac-E units in the U.S.

You can read the full story about Farley’s warning to Ford employees over at the Detroit Free Press.