Tesla's new Cybertruck has proven to be a clear shot across the bow of every other pickup truck maker in the automotive industry. But perhaps none is potentially more affected by the release than Ford. Now Ford has something to say about Tesla's new toy.
During Tesla's Cybertruck unveiling on Thursday night, CEO Elon Musk didn't mention Ford by name, but he clearly took some shots at the automaker, saying consumers want "a truck that's really tough, not fake tough." It was a commentary on Ford's "Built Ford Tough" slogan. And it wasn't lost on those who watch the automotive industry.
Ford, unlike some other pickup truck makers, has made clear that, like Tesla, it believes electric trucks are the future. The company is releasing a Ford F-150 hybrid truck next year and will be releasing an all-electric F-150 within the next few years. That truck will be a direct competitor to Tesla's Cybertruck. And toughness will undoubtedly play a role in both companies' pending battle.
So, it's against that backdrop that Ford on Friday commented about Tesla's Cybertruck unveiling. Instead of discussing the Cybertruck directly or mentioning that Musk's "toughness" comment came minutes before the car's window shattered when a ball was thrown at it, Ford tried to sidestep any war of words with the Tesla chief executive.
"With America's best-selling truck for 42 years, we've always focused on serving our truck customers regardless of what others say or do," a Ford spokesperson told Business Insider on Friday.
It was a comment from a company that knows all too well how the car business works. Yes, Tesla is a big brand in the business, but it's entering a pickup truck market that Ford and few others have been able to get right for a long time. And there are still some very serious questions about whether Cybertruck is street legal and will even be ready when it's set to hit the road in a couple of years.
If nothing else, Tesla appears ready to take the fight to Ford, and to a lesser extent, GMC, Chevrolet, and Dodge. Tesla clearly sees Ford and its electric truck of the future as a real competitor and wants to plant the seed now that it can do a better job of delivering a pickup truck people want. Ford, however, has a much different belief.
Of course, it's hard to say exactly what the future holds for the battle between Tesla and Ford. But if nothing else, it looks like it could get bitter. And chances are, the battle won't go away.