Ford Wants to Beat Tesla and NIO, Won’t Spin Off EV Business: CEO

Speaking at the Wolfe Research Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference on Wednesday Ford CEO Jim Farley said the veteran automaker plans to “beat” electric vehicle (EV) pioneer Tesla, not “match” it in production and sales.

“We know our competition is NIO and Tesla, and we have to beat them, not match them,” Farley said during the virtual conference.

Farley plans to up Ford’s EV production to 600,000 units per year by 2023, in what is the opening move of the CEO’s strategy to first match Tesla in annual production capacity, and then surpass it.

“Don’t bet against us,” Farley said of achieving the goal in a hype video shared earlier this week.

Tesla delivered close to one million all-electric cars globally in 2021, and the company still dominates EV sales in Ford’s top 5 states for EV registrations.

Speaking on Yahoo Finance Live last month, Farley heralded Tesla and NIO as the two companies he “admires” in the EV space (via CnEVPost).

Well, the companies that I think about that I admire because of their commitment — and frankly, the hard work they did to earn their reputation — are companies like NIO and Tesla.

During the Wolfe Research conference, Farley also laid to rest recent rumors of Ford looking into spinning off its EV business to capitalize on investor support for all-electric carmakers like Tesla.

“We have no plans to spin off our electric business or our ICE business,” Farley said on Wednesday.

According to Farley, Ford is also focused on increasing the quality and decreasing the cost of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles through lower construction costs and reduced vehicle complexity.

“To get the margins … that we see at a company like Tesla, we need to have real experts that can drive that scale,” Farley said, adding that Ford needs to hire more people who specialize and have experience in electrical components, advanced electrical architectures, and the digital customer experience.

Earlier this month, Ford poached an engineer from Tesla to guide “Advanced EV Development” at the veteran carmaker.