Ford Wants To Win

By Lloyd Graff

I didn’t think I would see it in my lifetime. I’ve been mocking them for years. 

I thought it would take another nut like Elon Musk to produce a competitive electric, self-driving car that could compete with Tesla, and in my mind a GM, Ford, Toyota, or VolksWagen would never have the guts to get to the finish line before the game was already over.

The stock market thought so too. Tesla was at $750, Ford was languishing at $12. 

Then, out of the blue, Ford decided they would actually go for it. They would convince Tom Brady, metaphorically, to leave New England at 43 years old and join yesterday’s team, so they could get to the Super Bowl.

Ford’s head, Jim Farley, somehow convinced Doug Field, who had led Tesla’s longshot effort to build the Model 3, to come to Ford. Field puts Ford near the top of the self-driving electric car sweepstakes.

When Musk booted Field out of Tesla in 2018, because that’s what he does to get the credit when the company is about to reach the end zone, Field moved to Apple to lead their super secret car project that is supposed to reach fruition in 2024. 

Getting the software right for a self-driving electric car is mighty difficult. Just ask Elon Musk, who is defending a bundle of lawsuits while trying.

Ford’s 2022 F-150

If anybody can make the Ford F-150 a legit contender, it is probably Doug Field. After graduating with a bachelors in engineering from Purdue he worked at Johnson & Johnson, where he met the renowned inventor Dean Kamen, who was attempting to build a wheelchair which could go up and down stairs by itself.

Kamen soon left J&J, and Field followed him to his new venture, Segway, where he was the first employee. The Segway is itself a balancing personal transporter which has morphed into a dozen or so products over the last 20 years.

Field was eventually lured to Silicon Valley, but maintained his interest in wheeled vehicles. Steve Jobs hired him at Apple where he became a prime mover of the Macintosh computer.

Eventually the attraction of building something new and great in America connected him to Elon Musk. Musk evidently saw in Field the creativity and drive to lead the Model 3 project that would take Tesla from a toy of the elite to a practical vehicle that could sell hundreds of thousands if not millions of vehicles a year. Government credits made the car economically feasible, and Musk, the showman, could promote Tesla without paying for advertising. Then Apple came once again for Field, this time to lead their self-driving vehicle venture for three years. 

NOW FORD. YES. FORD!

You have to figure Doug Field’s latest move is not about money. To me, it is absolutely shocking.

Ford does have the F-150 Lightning electric truck, which has about 150,000 reservations for the 2021 model, which now may come out in 2022. It’s running neck-and-neck with Tesla’s Cybertruck, which is also late. Ford has to get this right. If it has endless delays and recalls, Tesla will steal the company’s heart, kidneys, and liver. 

Maybe Doug Field took this job to get his revenge against Musk for firing him three years earlier. I have to believe that Ford, with the company on the line, offered Field, a Midwestern Purdue guy, the kind of authority that car companies would never relinquish to a Silicon Valley lifer. Will he deliver? Or will the Detroit insiders paralyze him before he can? 

We’ll find out in the next few years.

Question: Does Ford have a chance to beat Tesla with their electric truck?

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11 thoughts on “Ford Wants To Win

  1. Gary

    You forgot to mention the awesome Mach-E Mustang EV.
    The sleekness, in my opinion, is better looking than any of the Tesla model X or Y’s.

    Had mine since April, and it is the best & most fun vehicle I have driven since my 1977 280Z; and the 1st car I drove at 16 – 1966 Mustang Convertible.

    They got it right with this one. Hoping the same for the F150.

     
  2. Terry B.

    Tesla will never build a pickup truck. Just like they have not and will not ever build a roadster or a semi-truck. Tesla / musk is not a car company but a stock manipulation company, along with the ponzi-scheme of receiving large customer deposits of cash for things that will never happen. And don’t forget fake self-driving that produces many fatalities.
    If you pull out federal/state subsidies and the energy credits that they sell, they have never made a profit.

     
  3. Wendell Good

    Ford will most likely make this work. They have the production and logistics and sales know how. They have the best man for the job. They have resources and cashflow and the dealer network. They have committed 12B and their reputation to build an assembly plant and 3 battery plants. This is now the high percentage bet in the wild west world of electric vehicle manufacturing.

     
  4. Daniel

    As a lifelong Detroiter, we pray that Ford makes it happen! The environment needs these trucks to be a huge success.
    What’s good for Ford is good for the country! That’s what we used to say about GM. It was true then and even truer now!

     
  5. Lloyd+Graff

    Just saw a recall on the Mustang electric. Roof and windshield issue.

    I am curious about the Rivian? Is it actually going to happen ?

     
  6. Gary S

    The Rivian HAS happened! They are coming off the assembly line and getting really good reviews from the motoring world gear heads! I think we’re gonna have a whole lot of all-electric vehicles.
    Say whatever snide remarks about him that you want to, but if it weren’t for Elon you might have had an EV by about the year 2100. I ain’t saying anything about his ventures into space and communications.

     
  7. Andy B

    Lloyd
    Yes Ford does for sure and so do all the other established auto manufacturers. The Tesla truck may appeal to some out there but the majority of your truck buying customers want something that still looks like a truck in a traditional sense, that means they won’t be buying a Tesla in it’s current truck concept form. I realize they have over 1.25 million preorders (non-binding orders), but that is still a small amount compared to the overall market for trucks.
    I think that some of these other start ups and maybe even Tesla at some point will be bought up by the established American, German, Japanese, and Korean car manufacturers. Some may survive long term but its a very tough business to be a newcomer in. The next 2008 or 2001 recession may prove that. Bottom line in my point is, Ford will capture a lot of customers that want to go electric and also want to stay somewhat with a traditional automobile.

     
  8. Jasper Jac

    I wonder if they will have a program to monitor glucose, blood sugar levels,and night vision 🤔
    The diversity Ford has in stocks medical and field (village PEOPLE) WOULD MAKE THEM the Warren Buffet dinner table even Jeffrey DALMER Chrysler would enjoy breaking bread with and NOT RED WHINE THE SITUATION room…
    Of course I am not a TRU Maine When it comes to such matters of de heart💓.
    Oui

     

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