By on June 28, 2018

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Who doesn’t love a battle between automakers? Personally, I find the upper-crust sniping between Rolls-Royce and Lagonda both charming and hilarious, but the fun ramps up when the fight involves builders of more accessible products.

In a Wall Street Journal article published late Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk copped to sleeping under his desk near his Fremont assembly plant’s body shop, part of an all-out effort to reach a lofty (and delayed) June 30th production target. Some of the plant’s assembly work has moved into a large outdoor tent. Old-fashioned manpower has been called in to help crank out vehicles. This, from an automaker that not long ago expressed worry that wind resistance might slow down the pace of its futuristic automated assembly line.

Musk admitted he’s made some mistakes. There’s a tent, after all. But that didn’t stop him from telling the reporter, “I think there’s a good vibe—I think the energy is good; go to Ford, it looks like a morgue.”

Ford was quick to respond.

From Ford Motor Company’s vice-president of communications came this gem:


Not to be outdone by Truby’s jab, Ford’s North American product communications manager, Mike Levine, took note of how Tesla seems to prefer Ford vehicles for its service arm.



All eyes are on Tesla as the automaker strives to meet its self-imposed production target of 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of the month. Only when this occurs, Musk claims, will the company be able to throw new variants into the production mix. Among them, dual-motor and performance sedans, as well as the long-awaited $35,000 base model.

Reaching this target on time, and getting pricier versions of the Model 3 into production ASAP, is key to Musk’s plan to reverse Tesla’s negative cash flow by the end of the year. The automaker’s share value might depend on it.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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53 Comments on “Bad Vibes: Ford Takes on Tesla After ‘Morgue’ Comment...”

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Damn, Tesla got burned so bad there’s a Model S on fire somewhere.

  • avatar

    Since the day they decided to cancel almost their entire passenger car lineup Ford has little right to criticized anyone in the industry. When it comes to having a complete lineup of cars and trucks Ford is indeed becoming a morgue. I have noticed how sparse and uninteresting a Ford showroom has really become lately. It is only going to get worse.

    • 0 avatar

      Go drive an F-150. It is the class of the field.

    • 0 avatar

      “When it comes to a requirement I just made up that nobody else cares about, they’re a morgue” is not compelling.

      (By that standard, Tesla will always be even more morgue-ish, since they’re basically never going to get close to a “complete lineup” – they have TWO CARS you can buy now.)

      I could see someone calling Chrysler that, or even Dodge, almost, but Ford? Just because they don’t make *sedans*?


    • 0 avatar

      Ford still makes passenger cars and sells them in places where people actually like to buy a car and not some jacked up living room on wheels.

      The thing is Ford might be ahead of the curve on this thing. Honda, Toyota and to a lesser extent Volkswagon have the sedan market pretty much wrapped up and the same people who dutifully trade in thier 250,000 mile Camcords arent going to walk away from that altar no matter how good the competition can be so why lose money chasing after a segment thats essentially dead to them at this time? Especially when SUVs and CUVs arent all that bad with fuel mileage and you have an industry that has pretty much ironed out the bugs with modular platforms and has embraced lean manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Let Tesla get to Subaru level with respect to offering a full line up of cars before you start criticizing Ford here. They build 2 cars. One is old, and one they can’t seem to build in significant quantities. Furthermore, profit is a thing, at least at automakers other than Tesla.

  • avatar

    Two companies that cannot suck enough fighting. One’s building cars in a tent and the other just perpetrated the EcoSport.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This spat will pick up (!) again when the Tesla pickup arrives, but who knows when that will be.

  • avatar

    I suspect that the number of Model X service vehicles is about to increase significantly.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure about them turning sellable Model-X merchandise into a service vehicle.. They probably make $20-30k profit on each one – you can probably almost buy a new base truck for that. And then they can’t report that as a sale or profit. The trucks they can write off as a business expense..

    • 0 avatar

      The X has a payload rating of around 1300 lbs.

      And basically no interior space as far as a “service vehicle” goes.

      The X simply can’t (and to Tesla’s credit does not pretend it can) usefully operate in that space.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        Not to mention the distances some of these support vehicles need to travel in states without a standing Tesla facility. It’s that much tougher to offer timely service when you need to stop every ~200 miles and charge up for an hour.

  • avatar

    As much as I would love to see Tesla succeed, I have serious reservations about their future. Particularly since there seems to be an onslaught of electric vehicles on the horizon from all over the globe. Electric vehicles, which I might add, that cater to consumers who demand perfection, trouble free ownership for more than 100k miles and reasonable prices. Not exactly the fanboy mentality that seems to be drawn to Teslas. Tesla will be cooked if they cannot get their act together by the time there are multiple reliable competing vehicles on the market with similar or better range, for less. Just for good measure, I will mention the reliability thing again.

    • 0 avatar

      The service/ warranty expense for Tesla changes every quarter, and the trend is not their friend. Ford deserves all the bad press they get from essentially becoming a truck company.

      While the Ford tweets are pretty funny, they don’t make up for product. Yet, the Tesla tent is equally amusing.

      EM should give up his Twitter account, and Ford should at least fess up to the shareholders, “ah, well, we think we have this Mustang thing down, but have you seen the margins on a F-150?”

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, they deserve tons of bad press for cutting money-losing products that nobody wants and concentrating on money-MAKING products that sell very well. What an awful business decision that was. They should just dump all their cars in fleets like Nissan and Toyota. That’ll fix everything. Oh, that’s right, Toyota is laughing all the way to the bank (as if every Camry makes as much money as the F-Series, even if they sold almost 900,000 units a year like Ford does), but crying inside since they can’t touch the F-150 no matter how many times they’ve tried.

        If everyone complaining about it hasn’t bought a new Ford car in the past year, its time to put up or shut up.

        Besides, its not like Tesla has defined themselves as a very small niche of the market, one they can’t even seem to keep up with. Oh wait, that’s exactly what has happened. But, its okay, they have “energy” to build tents and promise things they can’t deliver.

        • 0 avatar

          The point is that for whatever reason Ford seems to be unable to make common products that people want at a profit. You yourself, probably the biggest Ford fanboy this side of the Baruth Brothers, were today talking about buying a Honda Civic Si (instead of the Ford competitor, the Focus ST.) Presumably you find the Civic to be the better product (?)

          I’m far from a Tesla fan but IF they were actually able to make their assembly line work as well as that of the F-150, then they appear to have at least half of the F150 volume’s sewn up in one model line (the 3). No mean feat, there aren’t any other cars out there (and sedans at that) with a waiting list of over 400k people and with an average transaction price likely ABOVE that of the F150 even if they do somehow soon launch the base version.

          Ford seems to be reducing itself to a two-trick pony here in the US. If Tesla somehow had the resources, they would be expanding rapidly. None of their products have been market failures yet (and they can’t afford them to be). They may very well run out of money before they run out of ego, but I’m not willing to put up my own money to bet against them either.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve questioned Ford’s decision myself, but it’s hard to argue against an obvious shift in the marketplace. I mean, does anybody think Jeep should enter the sedan market? Of course not. Jeep is arguably the hottest domestic brand, and nobody takes issue with their truck/SUV-only lineup.

          • 0 avatar

            “The point is that for whatever reason Ford seems to be unable to make common products that people want at a profit.”

            no, they are making common products that people want at a profit. Those products are CUVs and pickups. After all, this very site has posted multiple “midsize sedan deathwatch” articles.

            Car companies exist to make money by selling vehicles that people want to buy. they don’t exist to lose money making vehicles for Internet People to argue about.

          • 0 avatar

            Ford is inconsistently run, saved for the time being by AM, and now being absolutely run into the ground again by Jim HACKett, who is as incompetent an executive as any single other one active today.

            Ford has run away like a little girl crying I bawling from the Japanese, Germans and Koreans in trying to build,,price and sell anything other than a handful of CUVs/SUVs, and their one, real Hail Mary Saving Grace and literally The Farm, the F-Series.

            Even with their XUVs and SUVs, Ford is not viable as an ongoing concern without their F Series.

            Their wagon is literally hitched to one horse.

          • 0 avatar

            It depends on the “horse” you’re hitched to.

            If it happens to have Corolla type, worldwide sales volume combined with Mercedes S-class level of obnoxious profits, and consistently for the last 20+ years running, any reasonable Ford hater would agree that’s a very good choice of horse to hitch your wagon to, probably even BAFO and EBFlex (SilvyZ71).

            The “full lineup” thing is overrated, and really outdated. This isn’t 1958. Consumers “cherry pick” various brands for every segment they’re buying in.

            If you own a 3-series and looking for a fullsize pickup for a 2nd car, you gonna snivel BMW has nothing for you?

          • 0 avatar

            Who had a “full lineup” in 1958?

            certainly none of the domestics.

          • 0 avatar

            They didn’t have CUVs, minivans, etc, back then, so if they had a pickup, sedan, station wagon and a compact, they had a full lineup. I’m sure it was a common thing for a family to own 2 or 3 from the same brand, just from the brand choices out there.

  • avatar

    Cant STAND Tesla. I think its because of blowhardhucksterMUSK.

    This JAG OFF says I m sleeping at the plant to fix stuff. Yah Right.
    I have Tooled up stripped out assy plants for GM. From a blank floor to 50 jobs/hour. The salaried guys doing the work are the 6th to 8th level staff (not counting hourly guys and heavy contactors like Alberechi). These guys need to be on sight. Above that level, Department heads, VPs and company presidents are needed a few hours per week on site (if at all).

    His proclamation, “I gotta be in the plant so much I m sleeping there,” is pure and utter BULL SHIRT !!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    Isn’t there a Model S burning every 50 seconds somewhere?

  • avatar

    Paraphrasing Procol Harum: Ford is the brand where cars come home to die. Own Fusion but it will be the last of kind. No more Fusions, no more Tauruses, no more Focuses, no more Falcons, no more CVs, no more Mercuries and list goes on and on, like cemetery.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    They are more alike then Tesla would care to admit. I mean the lifespan of the Model S is rapidly approaching that of the Gen 1 Ranger.

  • avatar


    maybe Elon went to Henry Ford Hospital by mistake and wandered onto the wrong floor…

  • avatar

    Ooh… burn. Then again Tesla is used to that.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    When do we get a new model S. 7 years in with only a minor refresh. Again, this is Gen 1 Ranger territory. (10 years with the 89 refresh). At the model S price this is unacceptable and if BMW did it you all would be screaming bloody murder.

  • avatar

    Doesn’t matter. Detroit dies the day Tesla unveils their pickup, unless Ford/GM figure it out beforehand. Ford and GM live on profits on their trucks and SUVs, and any decent sized sales drop will do a number on them.

    • 0 avatar

      With what assembly facilities? Ford uses three assembly plants to build the F-Series. Right now Tesla can’t even match the weekly volume of one of them.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    I wouldn’t buy a Tesla because of the people who buy them – these fools are just like Honduh and Toyoduh buyers – all superior and they think they’ve discovered sliced cheese. Sadly all they’ve done is to over pay for a product which is worse for the environment over its entire manufacture and service life compared to a comparably sized fossil fuel product.

    And no, a Model 3, is not comparable to a BMW. It barely is comparable to a lowly and ugly Toyoduh Corolla.

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