Ford CEO draws a clear line between the Tesla Cybertruck and F-150 Lightning [Opinion]

(Credit: Dirty Tesla/Twitter)

In an interview on Mad Money with Jim Cramer, Ford CEO Jim Farley shared his thoughts on the Tesla Cybertruck and the legacy automakers’ decision to use Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS).

Tesla and Ford may have formed a new partnership when the latter decided to adopt NACS. However, Farley made it clear in his recent interview with Cramer that the two automakers still have healthy competition. When talking about the Tesla Cybertruck, Farley didn’t mince any words. 

“The reality is America loves an underdog—and we are the market leader for EV trucks and vans, and we know those customers better than anyone,” said the Ford CEO. 

Farley drew a stark line at the difference between the Tesla Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 Lightning. 

“And if [Elon Musk] wants to design a Cybertruck for Silicon Valley people, fine. It’s like a cool high-end product parked in front of a hotel. But I don’t make trucks like that. I make trucks for real people who do real work, and that’s a different kind of truck,” Farley said.

Different Pickup Trucks, Different Markets

The pickup truck market is quite different from the passenger car market. While the majority of the customers in the passenger car market look for vehicles to get from point A to point B, pickup truck buyers usually have specific reasons for purchasing a pickup truck. 

Pick-up trucks are used in various ways, from regular use as part of commercial fleets to specialized overlanding activities. With the multiple uses of pickup trucks in mind, even Rivian’s R1T would attract a different set of customers than the F-150 Lightning. The Rivian R1T is marketed toward customers who enjoy outdoor adventures, like hiking or camping. Ford’s F-150 lineup has always focused on working trucks. 

No Specific Niche for the Cybertruck

Elon Musk teased that the Tesla Cybertruck will have some cool new tech when it is out on the market, which some may assume would attract “Silicon Valley” people. However, Tesla has never pitched the Cybertruck as a pickup made explicitly for one activity. Although some early supporters of the Cybertruck have noted that it would make an excellent addition to a commercial fleet, mainly because its stainless steel exoskeleton makes it easier and more affordable to manage. 

The Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, and Ford F-150 Lightning have specific features that attract customers. If the R1T and F-150 Lighting were to adopt Tesla NACS, the playing field between the three pickup trucks would be even. The Tesla Cybertruck’s success depends on whether it can carve its own place in the pickup truck market, much like its older siblings did in their respective categories.

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Ford CEO draws a clear line between the Tesla Cybertruck and F-150 Lightning [Opinion]
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