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Former Ford CEO: Tesla still the EV benchmark, smaller players may be acquired by larger automakers

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Former Ford CEO Mark Fields recently noted that Tesla is still the benchmark in the electric vehicle sector. The auto veteran also stated that as the EV industry becomes more competitive, some smaller players that are producing high-priced electric cars today may find themselves bought out by larger companies. 

Young automakers like Lucid Motors and Nikola Corp have reported disappointing Q4 results. In Lucid’s case, the company fell below expectations in revenue, and its production forecast for 2023 was conservative. The company produced a total of 3,493 Air sedans in Q4 2022, but only delivered 1,932. Nikola’s results were even more eyebrow-raising, with the company producing 133 battery-electric trucks but only delivering 20 to dealers.

During comments in a CNBC Squawk Box segment, Fields noted that for companies like Lucid, the story seems to be changing from production challenges to demand challenges. He also noted that the path ahead is “only going to get tougher” as younger automakers like Lucid see competition in the high-end market from veteran players like Mercedes-Benz.  

With this in mind, the Former Ford CEO noted that ultimately, some of these companies would probably end up being bought out by larger players. “One thing is for sure – these companies are going to continue to need capital to grow their businesses. Some will succeed, and some will have to be bought by some of the larger players,” Fields said

As for Tesla, the former Ford CEO noted that the company’s decision to vertically integrate its operations has paid off. This, according to Fields, has truly allowed the company to be the “master of their own destiny.” “When you combine that with their brand, which is held in high regard because they were a first mover, they continue to get a premium,” the auto veteran said. 

“I think every automaker still benchmarks Tesla as the leader at this point,” Fields said. 

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Former Ford CEO: Tesla still the EV benchmark, smaller players may be acquired by larger automakers
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