The United States’ emerging all-electric pickup truck market is getting more interesting. Right after demonstrating the mammoth towing capabilities of its electric F-150 pickup, Ford stated that it is confident that it will maintain its lead in the US truck market despite the arrival of competitors from other, more aggressive companies. This includes Tesla, which is expected to unveil its own battery-electric pickup later this year.
The statements were related by Ford Chief Product Development Officer Hau Thai-Tang during a segment of Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. While speaking about the electric F-150’s impressive 1-million-pound towing demonstration, the Ford exec was asked if he views Tesla as a credible competitor. Thai-Tang was clear on Ford’s stance, expressing the carmaker’s confidence in the pickup truck segment.
“We wanna focus on the Ford plan. We have dominated this segment; it’s the best-selling truck for 42 years. We think combining Built Ford Tough with electrification exemplifies all of those attributes customers love. We want to build on the leadership we have had,” he said.
The Ford exec also reminded the show’s hosts that the pickup truck market is a very competitive segment, and it is one that Ford has dominated for years. Thai-Tang also emphasized that Ford welcomes any competition, and that it has great respect for rival companies preparing to enter the electric pickup market. The executive further noted that amidst the arrival of competitors, Ford would be focusing on its core strengths.
“The pickup truck business is very competitive. Ford has dominated it. It’s a huge profit driver for us, and we want to maintain that leadership and continue to build a moat around that store. We don’t take any of our competitors for granted; we have a lot of respect for all of them — we just want to focus on doing what we do well,” he said.
The Ford Chief Product Development Officer’s comments bode well for the emerging electric pickup truck market. The segment is massive, as evidenced by the F-150 being one of the pillars of Ford’s business today. As such, it is encouraging to see a veteran such as Ford welcoming the competition from rivals. Instead of taking aim at upstart companies like Tesla, the Detroit-based automaker seems to be focused on simply doing what it does best.
If there is something that seems to need improvement, it is Ford’s timeframe for its impressive all-electric F-150. The exec noted that a hybrid version of the F-150 will be released on the market in 2020, though he stated that a battery-electric version is still a “couple of years out.” This is a shame, as the all-electric prototype utilized in its recent 1-million-pound towing demonstration already seemed to be quite refined. Considering the interest and positive reception received by the electric F-150, Ford might end up miscalculating its strategy by not expediting the vehicle’s release.
Tesla, for its part, is preparing to release a pickup truck that Elon Musk describes as a “cyberpunk” vehicle, one that will not look out of place in the Blade Runner franchise. Musk has expressed his enthusiasm for the Tesla Pickup Truck, even noting that it is a vehicle he is most excited about. Tesla’s pickup will be competitive in price as well, with Musk stating that the truck will start at $49,000 at most.