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Ford CEO on Tesla: 'We can catch them'

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read
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One giant new step for Ford in EVs is one major step in wrestling EV market share from industry heavyweight Tesla.

"You bet, we have to because Tesla is way in front," Ford CEO Jim Farley told Yahoo Finance on whether the storied automaker is adopting an underdog mentality against EV leader Tesla. "I think we can catch them."

This week, Ford indeed fired a shot across the bow at Tesla — using arguably its most legendary product not named Mustang.

The auto giant began production of the highly anticipated F-150 Lightning, its first all-electric pickup truck, on Tuesday. Production is happening at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, within the historic Rouge Complex in Michigan, which is where Ford perfected the moving assembly line.

The extended range, battery-powered Lightning promises 10,000 pounds of towing capacity, over-the-air software updates, and the ability to power your home via a backup power capability. This version — which starts at $50,000 or so — boasts a 320-mile range on a charge, 563 horsepower, and travels 0 mph to 60 mph in about 4.4 seconds.

"No one has an electric pickup truck like this at $39,000," Farley said, referring to the entry-level version of the F-150 Lightning. "And so we'll compete differently. And I think you know that we're ambitious."

Ford CEO Jim Farley poses with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 19, 2021.  Picture taken May 19, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Ford CEO Jim Farley poses with the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 19, 2021. Picture taken May 19, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Tesla's Cybertruck — seen by most car experts as a niche offering given its high price and design —won't begin production until 2023.

Farley reiterated that Ford will be approaching the EV market differently than Tesla.

"We're not going to compete or serve our customers the same way they are [Tesla]," Farley said. "We're going to go after pickup trucks, commercial vans, and Mustangs that will have that Detroit swagger. Our product will scale, we know how to do that. It's not a big deal for us to build a new factory or ramp production like we are, but we have to really change the customer experience."

Ford says it has 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning.

Check out the full conversation above.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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