Last week, Elon Musk introduced Tesla's new Cybertruck in an extremely high-profile product launch. Much of the attention from the press and on social media focused on the fact that the truck's windows broke when steel balls were thrown at them, supposedly to prove how unbreakable they were. But in a whole other dramatic moment, Musk showed a video of a Cybertruck handily winning a tug-of-war with a Ford F150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in America. Just to make sure everyone saw it, he tweeted the video as well.

Several observers, looking closely at the video, concluded that this was an all-wheel-drive Cybertruck towing a rear-wheel-drive F150, which doesn't really seem fair. Then Ford VP and Autonomic co-founder Sunny Madra challenged Tesla to a more equitable rematch in a tweet that's now pinned to the top of his feed:

To me, anyhow, nothing about this suggests that this wasn't an actual offer of a rematch. Musk certainly took it that way.

Meantime, a famous physicist joined the conversation, pointing out that the heavier vehicle--which is certainly the Cybertruck--would be likeliest to win the contest.

After a bit more debate about the physics, Musk and Tyson agreed that the best approach would be to load both the F150 and the Cybertruck to the maximum and then re-run the experiment. It all seemed like it was a go.

With an exciting rematch on the horizon, the media starting contacting Ford for comment, and that's when things got sticky. In no uncertain terms, Ford's press representatives dismissed the idea of any kind of public contest between the Cybertruck and the F150. As several outlets have reported, Ford issue a statement:

"Sunny's tweet was tongue in cheek to point out the absurdity of Tesla's video, nothing more.

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. We look forward to our all-new F-150 hybrid coming next year and all-electric F-150 in a few years." 

Leaving aside Ford's superfluous product promo, and whether Madra was kidding or not, why wouldn't Ford want a rematch, especially one in which both vehicles were equally loaded down? Wouldn't the best way to show up the "absurdity" of the original video be to re-run the test with both trucks equally loaded?

Apparently Ford doesn't think so. But it may not matter, because Musk is perfectly capable of acquiring a higher-end F150 and trying the tug-of-war again without Ford's participation. My guess is that's exactly what he'll do.