Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently found himself on the receiving end of a snappy retort from Detroit, after describing Ford’s energy as similar to a “morgue.” In a response on Twitter, Mark Truby, Ford’s Vice President of Communications, fired back at Musk, throwing some shade at the electric car maker’s recently-built sprung structure and touting the efficiency of its own assembly line.
No doubt the vibe is funky in that “makeshift tent,” but it’s not bad either across the street at the #FordRouge plant where a high quality, high-tech F-150 rolls off the line every 53 seconds like clockwork. Come check it out @elonmusk #BuiltFordTough https://t.co/1KoEZIyf0D
— Mark Truby (@mtruby) June 28, 2018
Musk’s statements about Ford were related to the Wall Street Journal, which was recently given access to the Fremont factory. In a statement to the publication, Musk admitted that while Tesla has made mistakes with regards to the production of the Model 3, such as the over-automation of its manufacturing system, he remains optimistic about the company’s chances.
“I’m feeling good about things. I think there’s a good vibe—I think the energy is good; go to Ford, it looks like a morgue,” he said.
Ford’s retort echoes a lot of Tesla’s production shortcomings over the past year. The electric car and energy company, after all, has mostly struggled to scale the production of its most disruptive vehicle to date — the Model 3. When the first 30 of the vehicles were handed over to their owners in July 2017, Musk stated that the company was aiming to produce 5,000 Model 3 per week by the end of the year. Tesla produced 2,425 during the quarter.
Tesla eventually moved its 5,000/week production target for the Model 3 to the end of Q2 2018, while setting a more conservative 2,500/week goal for the first quarter. Tesla also missed its goal for Q1 2018, with the company producing a little over 2,000 vehicles per week by the end of March. During Tesla’s 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting earlier this month, however, Elon Musk noted that Tesla is on pace to hit its 5,000/week target for the Model 3 by the end of June.
Being a legacy automaker founded by the man who introduced the assembly line, Ford is the complete antithesis of Tesla. Ford’s F-150 line, for one, is famed for its capability to roll off vehicles in less than a minute. The company has also taken a rather conservative stance on electric cars, with offerings such as the Ford Focus Electric being mostly a niche vehicle. Despite its long tenure in the auto industry, and regardless of the fact that it is the lone American automaker apart from Tesla that has not filed for bankruptcy to date, the company has also been beset by its own set of challenges. This year alone, Ford announced that it is stopping the production of all its cars, except for the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active Crossover, which is expected for a 2019 release.
With the end of the second quarter at hand, Tesla has a very real opportunity to shoot down criticisms such as Ford’s. With another assembly line built in an expansive sprung structure augmenting the company’s production numbers, Tesla might just have the numbers to silence a significant number of its staunchest critics.